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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - House Stark

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This is a listing of members of House Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Northern entry, see here

House Stark of Winterfell

"Winter Is Coming"
Stark House Words

The Great House ruling the North, the largest but most sparsely populated territory of the Seven Kingdoms, and the lands most vulnerable to Westeros's long winters, which last for years at a time. They are a grim house of iron will, holding to the old laws and customs of the First Men, being the only Great House that does so. They trace their ancestry from a legendary fellow named Bran the Builder, who helped raise the Wall as well as Winterfell itself, and almost every generation of Starks has had a "Brandon" amongst their ranks. The Starks ruled as the Kings of Winter until Aegon's Conquest, when Torrhen Stark saw wisdom (or perhaps the hopelessness of resistance) and bent the knee. For this he became known as "The King Who Knelt," but the North was one of the only kingdoms not to be ravaged by the war. Their sigil is a gray direwolf, (a large species of wolf that is no longer seen south of the Wall) on a white/silver field.


Due to their prominence in the story, accounting to six POV characters and 162 chapters of 348 total in the series (up to A Dance With Dragons), House Stark are the most prominently featured noble house in the books and are the de-facto protagonists of A Song of Ice and Fire.

See here for the House Stark Ancestors

See here for the House Stark Household

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    Tropes related to House Stark 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: The Starks, Ned and Robb in particular, have this type of reputation in the North. Even most of the Riverlands make the decision to secede from the Iron Throne along with the North, with Robb leading them.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Ice, a five-foot-long greatsword made of Valyrian steel. It's one of the last houses to have one. It was melted down and turned into smaller swords after Eddard's death. Brienne's Oathkeeper is one of them. The current greatsword is a relatively young weapon (~400 years old), though the Starks of Winterfell always have had a legendary tradition of a sword by the name of Ice since the Age of Heroes, from which the current weapon was named.
  • Ancient Tomb: The Crypt of Winterfell are catacombs under the castle in which the kings and lords of Stark are entombed and their likenesses set in stone. Traditionally it's just for the lords and kings, but Ned Stark took to entombing his brother and sister as well. The deepest depths of the crypts have not been detailed as of yet, and are the stuff of some legend (including the rumor that a Targaryen dragon once found its way down there and left a nest of eggs).
  • Animal Motifs: Direwolves.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Winter is coming" is a reminder that despite all the terrible things happening in Westeros, the worst is yet to come.
    • "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" asserts that they are the only true rulers of The North and implies that Westeros itself is doomed without the Starks.
  • Badass Family: The current generation of Starks is descended from an extremely long line of hale and hardy Northern rulers, many of whom were not exactly shy about shedding blood to either become rulers or maintain it. (For more information on some of them, see the "Historical Starks" section below.) Not that we ever see them kicking ass together, but as individuals, they're all pretty badass and determined in their own ways. That's right, even the proper ladies Catelyn and Sansa.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All the Starks' greatest desires come true pretty quickly and they don't do them much good;
    • Bran gets to leave home and go on an adventure because Winterfell is sacked and he and Rickon are presumed dead.
    • Jon gets to join the Night's Watch. Which is unglamorous, hard, and challenging.
    • Sansa gets to live at court and be betrothed to a prince. Living as a hostage, betrothed to a cruel boy she comes to despise.
    • Arya gets to run away from all her noble privilege. Fleeing for her life and Walking the Earth in the midst of a civil war, and subject to a world of danger, such as forced servitude.
    • Robb gets to be treated like a "man grown" when his father dies and he must take up his lordly duties.
    • Catelyn is a master of these. See her section below.
      Catelyn: I have said it, gods forgive me. I have said it and made it true.
  • Being Good Sucks: In Westeros, the decent way rarely is the efficient or happy way. Doing the right thing has its tolls.
  • Big Good:
    • Despite all the trouble they get into for their principles, the Starks are still well-loved and respected in the North.
    • Eddard's son, Robb, becomes this after he dies and Robb is proclaimed the King in the North.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Members of house Stark are mostly nice people with a genuine care for their people and sense of honor to varying degrees, but it would be a great mistake to view them as soft or weak, and they can become ruthless and terrifying when pushed too far.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The current House Stark is a notable aversion, as is one of the few great houses whose members unquestioningly love each other unconditionally (with the sole exception of Catelyn's resentment of Jon, which is to be expected given Westerosi views toward illegitimate children). But their ancestors may have played it straight at times. For example: The upcoming short story of Dunk and Egg "The She-wolves of Winterfell" will probably play it straight since it allegedly deals with a Succession Crisis between several members of House Stark, enabled by their women.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Quite a few other characters have mentioned that "winter is coming", because unlike the typical Badass Boast, the Stark words are equally applicable to every House and every person in Westeros.
  • Break the Cutie: Basically their storyline, and a big part of the drama of the series. The Starks begin as a good, honorable, innocent and loving family before we find out how rare those are in this world (even among the nobility), and the first three books are all about their downfall. The family is scattered, their home is destroyed and eventually taken over by the people who betrayed them, the members who haven't been horrifically killed have been traumatized beyond belief and they are turning darker with every page. The fact that the only Starks that remain are children makes this all so much worse.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Subverted. The "Stark look" is typically gray eyes, dark hair, and a longer face. This look has been present for so long that all of Ned's generation had it but with Catelyn's additions to the gene pool, most of the current generation of Starks take on Tully features (auburn hair and blue eyes), except for Jon and Arya.
  • Color Motif: Their sigil's colors are white and gray, representing their clear morality but grim disposition.
  • Conflict Killer: The Lannisters were able to keep their animosities with each other in check thanks to their war with the Starks. The Lannister's issues with one another resurfaced and now their patriarch Tywin Lannister is dead, his son Tyrion Lannister—who killed Tywin—fled east and the remaining siblings' relations have soured, all because they have no common enemy to fight.
  • Cool Crown: The crown of the Kings of Winter, yielded by King Torrhen to Aegon the Conqueror and now missing. A new one had to be made for Robb.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Fate has not been kind to House Stark in the last four decades or so. Sticky fates were visited upon Rickard Stark, his children, and his grandchildren.
  • Cult of Personality: Within the North, House Stark is more than just a feudal overlord, they are seen as almost quasi-religious figures (as evidenced by phrases "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell") and many associate House Stark with prosperity, stability, justice and the good life, which is understandable given that the North has always been ruled by House Stark, the Boltons are even worse and that during Winter, House Stark opens and hosts Winterton, a small town outside the Castle with rations and supplies to protect people during the long winter, which further enshrined in the minds of the people, the importance of House Stark to the North. Likewise, a nickname for the North as a whole is "wolves" even if it is only House Stark that has that on its heraldry.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Ruled formerly as Kings In The North.
  • Divided We Fall: Seems to be headed this way.
    • Roose Bolton solidifies his rule over the North by having his son Ramsay marry an imposter posing as Arya.
    • Petyr Baelish plans to unite the Vale, the North and Riverlands by having Sansa marry Harry Hardyng, the second in line to the Arryn seat after the sickly Lord Robert Arryn.
    • Davos Seaworth is on a rescue mission to save Rickon and rally the Northern lords under Stannis Baratheon.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Robb and Sansa are presently the only Stark children to not explicitly have this ability.
  • Disinherited Child: A rare sibling-on-sibling example. Once Robb learns of Sansa's marriage to Tyrion Lannister, he disinherits her as his heir in an effort to prevent Winterfell from falling into Lannister hands. Robb names Jon Snow as heir instead, witnessed by several of his lords. While nobody outside his host appears to know about Robb's will, some of witnesses are still alive and the will itself is a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Elemental Motifs: The Starks are heavily associated with ice. They rule the icy northernmost part of Westeros, they were historically known as the Kings of Winter, their seat is Winterfell, their house words are "Winter is Coming", and part of their look is Icy Gray Eyes.
  • The Exile: It's a little hard to stay home when it's been burned by an opposing army.
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • There have been numerous members named Brandon Stark throughout the family's history and a bastard named Brandon Snow.
    • Rickon, Benjen and Rickard are also common names for Stark men.
  • Feminine Mother, Tomboyish Daughter: Catelyn is a tried and true Proper Lady, while her middle child and second daughter Arya is a wild and rambunctious tomboy. Although Catelyn's husband Ned indulged Arya's hobbies like sword fighting and horseback riding (in part because of her resemblance to his famously tomboyish deceased sister Lyanna), Catelyn expresses concern about Arya's future, was critical over her lack of feminine skills, and takes pride in the fact that Arya's feminine older sister Sansa was "a lady at three".
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Bran, Arya and Jon develop into this. Bran, with his skin-changing power, visions, and magical training is the Mage; Arya, with her observational skills, quickness with a rapier, and ability to change faces is the Thief; and Jon with his swordsmanship, survival skills, and leadership in battle is the Fighter.
  • Flower Motifs: The blue rose of Winterfell represents the Starks, with Lyanna having a particular connection to it.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Brandon and Lyanna's wolf-blooded wildness may put them in the foolish sibling category, while honorable Eddard fills the role of the responsible sibling. Benjen is somewhere in the middle.
    • A pretty straight example with Bran and Rickon, since Bran is a relatively enlightened seven-year-old thrust into a position of great responsibility, while Rickon is three-years-old and has a huge temper.
    • Robb Stark and Jon Snow. While both fully commit to lives of hard duty, are moral, and share honourable traits, Robb is under a great deal more pressure and more tightly bound to his status as a king than Jon as a man of the Night's Watch, who goes against tradition and oaths for the sake of doing what’s right. At the same time, both brothers break their vows (a vow of marriage for Robb and a vow of celibacy for Jon) by sleeping with women who are on the opposite side of the wars they're fighting. However, Jon breaks his vow partially out of necessity and though he has fallen in love with Ygritte, ultimately refuses to forsake his loyalty to the Night's Watch. Robb marries Jeyne Westerling, the girl he had sex with, to protect her honour. This costs him his needed allies, who proceed to quite literally stab him in the back. Jon and Robb are equally foolish in their final moments, however, as both of them make big plans to take out the bad guys while inadvertently offending the hell out of some dangerous people who are supposedly on their side.
    • Played With in Sansa and Arya switch around with this in the first book. Sansa and most adults see Arya as the Foolish Sibling to Sansa's Responsible Sibling, as Arya is more difficult to control and Sansa fits seamlessly into the gender norms of the setting. However, readers see it the other way as Sansa has her moments of extreme naivete (eg. the incident at the Trident and trusting Joffrey and Cersei), while Arya is more savvy and insightful.
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Starks often make promises and oaths, which they always fully intend to fulfill when making them, but almost never manage to do on account of life or other obligations standing in their way. Some get more regularly and increasingly broken over time than others; some are exploded in a single incident. Jon's Night's Watch oaths and Robb's vows unravel several times throughout the series. Arya has extraordinary issues with promising to train properly and poor Sansa would just like a situation stable enough to know what vows she can try to uphold. Catelyn holds some kind of record when it comes to private promises she makes to herself. And, Ned has, with one unknown promise to his sister, frequently compromised many other vows he holds dear.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: A running problem within the family. Their adherence to honor leads them to assume others will act as honorably as they do, which gets them killed more often than not.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The most beloved noble family in Westeros, but it's clear they didn't stay on top so long without some streak of ruthlessness. The Kings in the North are after all "hard men for a hard time".
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Starks are one of the most noble and kindest families in Westeros, ans they are usually genuine decent people who care for and treat with love their people. However they also take their duties and laws very seriously and won't hesitate to do unpleasant things if it's demanded of them, and will not show any superfluous mercy if you become their enemy as many have found out the hard way
  • Good Old Ways: They still keep to the traditions of the First Men: honor, bravery, belief in the old gods, and "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword".
  • Grim Up North: By reputation.
    Eddard Stark: The North is hard and cold, and has no mercy.
  • The Hero Dies: Ned, Robb, Jon (maybe) and Catelyn... the last one sort of.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: The Stark children are some of the most traditionally heroic characters, and they all obtain a direwolf pup at the start of the series. They become Bond Creatures with the ability to tell those who mean their masters harm.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Starks supposedly descend from Bran the Builder and, according to the wildlings, Bael the Bard.
  • History Repeats:
    • Robert's Rebellion and the War Of The Five Kings both begin because of a Stark's failed rescue attempt. Many of the individual characters also end up mirroring the arcs of the previous Stark generation.
    • Ned Stark to Rickard Stark: Unjustly executed by a mad, cruel king which triggers a country-wide civil war.
    • Robb Stark to Brandon Stark: The eldest Stark son, heir to the North and expected to be a great leader only to be brutally murdered as a young man while trying to avenge/save their father.
    • Jon Snow to Ned Stark: The quieter younger (or illegitimate) son who grew up in the shadow of their older brother, the Stark heir. Neither expect to become Lord of Winterfell and spent their later formative years away from home (Castle Black and the Vale respectively) after their family is separated, but end up in line for the succession due to their brother's tragic death. Both risk everything to rescue a beloved little sister.
    • Sansa Stark to Catelyn Tully: A proper lady used as a pawn in marriage alliances. Their initial betrothal fell apart due to war (Brandon's murder and Joffrey turning on the Starks) and they were quickly forced into second choice options (Ned and Tyrion/Harry Hardyng) while being subject to Littlefinger's unwelcome affections.
    • Arya Stark to Lyanna Stark: The rebellious Stark daughter with "wolf blood" who gets separated from her family during the war and whose favourite older brother (Jon and Ned respectively) move hell and high water to save. Has links with a Baratheon (Gendry and Robert) who mourns them deeply after they're dead or presumed so.
    • Bran Stark to Benjen Stark: The younger son, more removed from the politics and bloodshed of Westeros's fight for the throne. Ends up going North and uncovering the deeper mysteries and powers at work in Westeros.
  • Honor Before Reason: A Fatal Flaw for most members of the family, they are sticklers for holding to their honor and doing the moral thing even if it would be pragmatic and sensible to do something else. This is what directly gets Robb killed. Those who don't ascribe to honor so heedlessly have a tendency to survive longer.
  • Ideal Hero: Several members of this House fall into this category as they believe in honor and justice, allowing those ideals to guide their behavior.
  • I Just Want to Be You!: Not the Starks themselves, but they seem to bring this out in others. Several characters are shown to have greatly desired to be a part of House Stark, only to turn extremely bitter when it never happened, namely Theon Greyjoy and Barbrey Dustin.
  • Jacob and Esau: An unbalanced example, where Robb, Sansa, Bran, and Rickon resemble their mother Catelyn, while Arya (and Jon, who doesn't share their mother) takes after Ned. Arya and Sansa fit this trope the most, as Arya is closest to her father and has the stereotypical "Northern" look, while Sansa is the apple of her mother's eye. However, in terms of personality, they actually resemble the opposite parent: Sansa and Ned are both deeply idealistic, often at their own expense, while Catelyn has a fierce and emotional streak much like Arya, as well as a strong sense of justice.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Famously so. Stark lords believe that "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword". That's why House Stark never needs an executioner at its employ. Eddard Stark, his father Rickard and their ancestor Cregan are famous for doing so. Eddard's sons Robb and Jon follow the same footsteps.
  • King Bob the Nth: Brandon is the most common Stark name. So common (and the bloodline is so ancient) that they gave up on numbering them long ago.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Though they often fall to prey to treachery and deceit easier than most, the Starks who live to fight another day learn well from their mistakes and are determined to never repeat them. Many will come to regret viewing the Stark children as merely being pawns in their game.
    • Ned Stark was perhaps the least notable of Rickard Stark's children, dubbed the Quiet Wolf. He grew up in the shadow of his older, bolder brother Brandon who was the one with the great destiny, but after his sister disappeared and his father and brother were executed by the Mad King, Ned became a Rebel Leader alongside Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn. He was instrumental in achieving victories for the rebellion as both The Strategist and a Frontline General.
    • Though the readers know her as The Determinator in her own way, most of the characters see Catelyn as little more than a representative of both her Houses and an intermediary for her son. Her enemies will be suitably freaked out when they find out that she's been brought Back from the Dead, has become the insane leader of a group of self-righteous outlaws, and is hell-bent on killing everyone who had anything to do with her and her family's pain.
    • Friends and foe alike doubt Robb's abilities as The Leader of the Northern armies when he calls his banners and goes to war with the Lannisters. He quickly shows them how wrong they were when he proceeds to win battle after battle against Lannister forces in the spirit of his father, becoming known as The Young Wolf.
    • In the beginning, the main characters are split between either adoring Bran for being such a sweet little boy, or pitying him for losing his ability to walk and expect him to have a sad, short life as a result. Turns out, Bran is a powerful warg who can control his hulking manservant Hodor, as well as his large direwolf Summer. He's also a Greenseer, who can dream of the future and glimpse into the past through weirwood trees.
    • Sansa is valued primarily as a hostage, for her potential as a candidate for marital alliances (or sex for the less ambitious), or her high social standing. Otherwise, people simply see her as a naive, witless child who can be manipulated as a pawn, used and abused by others. Sansa catches on to this and uses it as a shield for the most part, all the while perfecting her Politeness Judo and Silk Hiding Steel traits; under the tutelage of Littlefinger, she is set to become one of the most cunning players of the game of thrones as well as one of the most powerful women in Westeros.
    • In the beginning of the series, Arya is the younger Stark daughter who doesn't quite fit into societal expectations of a lady as she'd rather be an Action Girl than a Proper Lady, doesn't display her older sister's ladylike talents and grace, and prefers the company of sword masters and smallfolk, rather than ladies like her mother and sister. Then she falls off everyone's radar altogether when she escapes King's Landing and encounters all sorts of people, places, and experiences. Despite being a ten-year-old girl with a highborn castle upbringing, Arya survives life on the run in war-torn Westeros. After a while, many believe her to be dead because there's no word of her since she's seemingly disappeared into a country ravaged by war. Unbeknownst to them, Arya not only survives the likes of Harrenhall but fought back, actually reaches her mother and oldest brother in time to see them die, and is now hidden away across the Narrow Sea, where she is learning to become an assassin. She is becoming a truly frightening Professional Killer with a huge vendetta to fulfill.
    • Rickon and his unruly wolf, Shaggydog, are looked at as nuisances due to their difficult and sometimes nasty temperaments. Rickon is separated from his parents and most of his family at age three, loses his home when he, his brother Bran, and Winterfell are captured, and they're forced to go on the run. Then Rickon is left in the care of a wildling and now's he's hiding out on an island of cannibals. None of this is going to make either Rickon or Shaggydog any more well-adjusted than they are already.
    • Ned's illegitimate son, Jon, began the story as a Wide-Eyed Idealist wanting to join the Night's Watch for the sake of honour and duty and to follow his dream of becoming a ranger in the Watch like his Cool Uncle. As the highborn bastard son of a lord who joins the Watch, he is totally off society's radar and is regarded as an outsider even in the Watch itself due to being a castle-bred illegitimate son with a young lord's upbringing. Jon navigates the series with the morality instilled by his father and strives to do the right thing while his scope is being vastly opened up by his experiences in the series and by the variety of people and cultures he encounters. During his time in the Night's Watch, Jon goes from oath-sworn realm defender to risking his life in his role as spy for the Night's Watch and then is elected Lord Commander of the entire Night's Watch at age 16, working to save everyone from the oncoming army of the dead in which he becomes one of the main defenders in the war against the Zombie Apocalypse. Stannis Baratheon recognizes Jon's potential political value as a son of Eddard Stark and tries to win himself a Stark ally by legitimizing Jon and giving him Winterfell, but Jon refuses Stannis's offer out of loyalty to his father's gods, for the sake of his siblings' claims on Winterfell, and duty to the Watch.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Although the current Stark generations (save for Jon and Arya) has mostly taken after Catelyn Tully, the traditional Stark appearance has gray eyes. Said gray eyes reflect their coat of arms (a gray direwolf), evoke the cold and grim lands they rule, and also the sullen and stern personality is often attributed to his components.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Stark" is Swedish (among other languages) for "strong". In English, it also means severe (fitting with their outlook of life) and bare or barren, a fitting name for a family who rule over the North of Westeros.
    • Many men of House Stark have been named Bran, the Welsh word for raven. Ravens are known as "wolf birds" due to their positive relationship with wolves, which often involves sharing meals. They have even been known to play with wolf pups.
  • Modest Royalty: Compared with other great Houses, they are downright unglamorous (much to Sansa's chagrin... early on; she learns how dangerous pomp without principle can get): even Winterfell's glasshouses with their trademark blue winter roses are primarily utilitarian (you keep the beds to grow oodles of difficult roses in times of plenty, so you have what you need to grow plenty of food in want). The Starks tend to have an "all hands to the pump and put your backs into it" mentality with strong principles of social responsibility which most definitely don't selectively exclude themselves that other Houses (particularly Southern ones) tend to lack. If a job is unpopular, hard, uphill and/or dirty but seen as necessary for group survival, you can do far worse than throwing a knot-cutting Stark at it, but only if you leave them with room to get on with it their way.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: If the story of Bael the Bard is true, House Stark has wildling blood in it and may be extinct in the male line.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Unlike other noble Houses, they treat their subjects with compassion and respect. Ned regularly has members of his household sit with him at supper to make sure that everything is running smoothly. All the Stark children have fond memories of their servants and guards, with Bran and Arya in particular taking Ned's lessons of valuing others to heart, and forging strong relationships with the smallfolk.
  • Noble Wolf: With the intelligent, strong direwolf as their House sigil, the Starks are famously honorable and noble.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Stark forces Rape, Pillage, and Burn just as much as their Lannister counterparts. Although at least the Starks do their best to punish the perpetrators whenever possible and try to keep their wars as "clean" as possible, and make an effort to rein in the excesses of bannermen like Roose Bolton, whereas the Lannisters actively encourage people like Gregor Clegane and Vargo Hoat to be as brutal and monstrous as possible in order to incite fear in their enemies.
  • Off with His Head!: The standard Stark method of execution. While brutal, it showcases their honorable nature in that (if done properly) it's about as quick and clean a death as you can hope for in a place like Westeros, preferable to hanging, burning, flaying, etcetera.
  • One-Steve Limit: House Stark frequently reuses names like most feudal dynasties. Brandon is the runaway winner with at least fifteen throughout history, Benjen clinches second with five, and there are a multitude of names based around "Edd" (Eddard, Edwyle, Edwyn, Edrick, Edderion etc.). Names based on "Rick" (Rickard and Rickon) are also popular.
  • Opposites Attract: Invoked by the obvious "ice and fire" theme. House Stark shares a connection with House Targaryen that remains unfulfilled. The Starks are the ice to the Targaryen fire, and there is an implied power to be had from this union in the same degree that there's a connection between the First Men and the Valyrians. The most significant connection between the latter two races of men comes with the birth of Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, a tremendously powerful and influential individual that came from the union of House Targaryen (Vayrians) and House Blackwood (First Men). The first time the Targaryen/Stark connection came close to fruition was through the "Pact of Ice and Fire", a deal to marry a Targaryen princess with a Stark boy, which fell through due to the high casualties of the Targaryen Royal Family during the Dance of the Dragons. The other time has been the rather infamous liaison between Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, whatever the nature of their relationship was (kidnapping or elopement) and as well the result of it,which has been speculated for years to be nothing less than Jon Snow.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The youngest generation of Starks are all wargs, capable of sharing a body with their direwolves, though only Arya, Bran, and Jon have displayed this ability on page. Sansa had the potential to skinchange with Lady, but never got the chance as she lost Lady early in the narrative.
  • Party Scattering: Foreshadowed when Rickon complains that he doesn't want anyone to leave Winterfell because he fears they'll never come back. The Starks are first split into Ned/Sansa/Arya at King's Landing, Jon/Benjen at Castle Black, and Catelyn/Robb/Bran/Rickon at Winterfell. Catelyn leaves after the murder attempt against Bran. After Ned's death, it becomes Sansa in King's Landing, Arya a fugitive in the eastern Riverlands, Robb/Catelyn at war in the western Riverlands, Benjen missing and presumed dead, while Bran/Rickon are at Winterfell and Jon is beyond the Wall. After the sacking of Winterfell, Bran goes beyond the Wall just as Jon is coming back to the Wall while Rickon is somewhere note  with Osha. Finally, after the Red Wedding during which Robb and Catelyn are murdered, Catelyn returns as an undead zombie terrorizing the Riverlands, Sansa escapes to the Vale, Arya is in Braavos, Jon has returned to Castle Black, Bran is still beyond the Wall while Rickon is still... somewhere. It's gotten to the point where none of the family members even know if any of the others are still alive.
  • The Power of Family: The main strength and motivation of the Starks is their inconditionnal love and devotion for each other, with the desire to protect, avenge or retrieve family members being the driving factor behind many of their actions and participation in a war. This is also what prevents Arya and Sansa from truly losing their identities, and the one last shred of humanity still present in Lady Stoneheart.
  • Practically Different Generations: Robb and Jon are eleven years older than their youngest sibling, Rickon. Robb is actually given a Promotion to Parent for Rickon (and Bran) in the first book after Ned and Catelyn both leave Winterfell. That said, Catelyn's pregnancies were evenly spaced out, so all the kids have at least some siblings near their age.
  • The Protagonist: Of all the houses in A Song of Ice and Fire, the Starks are the primary focus of the series besides the Lannisters and the Targaryens. The execution of Ned at King's Landing, in particular, is the inciting incident that causes the War of the Five Kings, not to mention that the Stark children have a significant amount of screen time as much as Tywin and Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: They're the blue to the Targaryen's red, since they perfectly fit the "ice and fire" leitmotif of the saga and also because the Targaryens are generally Hot-Blooded while the Starks have a reputation for being reserved, having icy tempers, and are, well, stark.
  • The Remnant: They become this early in the series when their most prominent members are either dead or missing, their army is scattered, their household is ruined and the family itself gets exiled by the crown, they are believed to be extinct in the male line. It is heavily implied, however, that they are on their way to some sort of comeback.
  • Rightful King Returns: The smallfolk and nobility of the North wonder if a Stark will return to Winterfell. Wyman Manderly reveals that many of their bannerman are attempting to invoke this and avenge "The Red Wedding" in the process.
  • Royalty Superpower: Although they're not in the same league as House Targaryen, the Starks have what Ned refers to as "the wolf blood" coming from their First Men heritage as Kings of the North. Those with it tend to feyness, action, doing things differently and leaving their names in song. Add the possibility of having produced more Wargs (and/or other assorted skinchangers), Greenseers and Greendreamers in the family's past than is probably known of or was recognized at the time, and this is a thing to keep in mind about House Stark.
  • Single Line of Descent: Like many other Great Houses of Westeros, the Starks are all confined to half a dozen or so members at the most, and the inheritances of their various regions are threatened because of it. It may be partially justified as all of Lord Eddard Stark's siblings were killed or took the Black before having children, though there is a distantly related branch, the Karstarks. Even without the sudden narrowing, Northern Houses as a whole do tend to be streamlined when compared to Southern ones... for good reason. The harsher the environment, the greater the chance you'll not find many cousins, or cousins of cousins, by blood. As winter is harsh, the superfluous, weak or useless get regularly trimmed so the core may live through it. One way or another.
  • Single Line of Descent: The current generation of Starks are rather short on cousins for such an old and important House.
    • The Karstarks are said to be a distant branch of their family tree, but closer than that, Eddard seems to have had no uncles or great uncles whose descendants Winterfell might pass to should his own family be wiped out. Their habit of sending younger brothers to the Wall may well have contributed to this over many years. The family tree in "The World of Ice and Fire" shows that many Stark relatives had a habit of dying without issue, even daughters.
    • If Eddard's elder brother had not died tragically, Ned could possibly have been married off to a House without male heirs, alleviating the lack of extended family. However, even with the death of the Stark firstborn, Ned seemed to have been going some way to remedy this with three legitimate sons and two daughters and may have gone on to have more, but this was cut short by... well, everything.
    • Catelyn mentions that Ned's grandfather's sister married a man of House Royce, leading to several distant cousins in the Vale. The same grandfather also had two cousins, Brandon and Benjen, who both had issue. We're not told what happened to them.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Unlike other houses, their words are not a boast or declaration, but a warning. It doubles as a Badass Boast in conjunction with their old title of Kings of Winter, implying the Starks are either grade-A asskickers that fall on their enemies like winter, or that when winter comes you'd better fall behind the Starks if you want to survive it.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The traditional Stark look has brown hair and gray eyes, like it was in Ned Stark's generation. However, Ned's kids have mostly taken after his wife Catelyn with their red hair and blue eyes. Jon and Arya retain the traditional appearance, but they are in minority.
  • There Can Be Only One: Subjugated the other royal families to gain absolute mastery of the North.
  • Undying Loyalty: Inspires this in most of their bannermen.
  • Winter Royal Lady: A rare male version of the trope, the Starks of old took the style of King in the North and King of Winter.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: House Stark is basically a family of traditional fantasy heroes dropped into a Medieval Crapsack World. They're known for their integrity, honor, and sense of duty. They hold themselves to a relatively high moral standard and refuse to compromise their virtues or play politics. And they genuinely love each other rather than see family members as pawns or bargaining chips. In any other fantasy setting, these would be good qualities to have. Here, they're the very things that get many of them killed. Notably, this only kicks in when they venture out of the north, on their homeground, these principles have held them in good stead for a thousand years.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After Winterfell is burned to the ground. Even when it is rebuilt (to an extent), by the treacherous Boltons who burned it down in the first place, it's still very dangerous for a Stark to be near Winterfell.

    Lord Eddard Stark* 
See the Ned Stark page.

    Lady Catelyn Stark* 

Lady Catelyn Stark (nee Tully)

Cat, Lady Stoneheart, The Silent Sister, Mother Merciless, The Hangwoman
Click here to see Lady Stoneheart 
"How can I do my duty when I do not know where it lies?"

Wife of Eddard Stark, originally from the House Tully and above all devoted to her father, brother, husband and children. After Jon Arryn dies, she receives a letter from her sister Lysa, Jon Arryn's widow, who blames the Lannisters for Arryn's death. While her husband joins the royal court, she stays in Winterfell in order to protect her children, but is later forced to travel south to investigate the attempt on Bran's life and advise Robb in the War of the Five Kings.

For the House Tully character page, see here.

For the Brotherhood Without Banners character page, see here.

  • Action Survivor: When an assassin tries to kill Bran, she stops the man by grabbing the blade of his knife and holding onto it, then proceeds to bite his thumb nearly off. When her group is ambushed by mountain clansmen on the way to the Vale and Tyrion distracts one of their attackers, Catelyn steps up from behind the attacker and slits his throat.
  • Affair? Blame the Bastard: Played With. Catelyn isn't mad that Ned has a bastard because their marriage was a last-minute wartime marriage and they only spent one night together (their wedding night) before he had to go off to war. What rankles Catelyn is that Ned gives his illegitimate son the same education, upbringing, and treatment as her trueborn children in defiance of Westerosi custom. She perceives the way he treats Jon as a reflection of some ongoing love and loyalty to Jon's mother. The fact that Ned absolutely refuses to talk about it, or tell her anything about Jon's background, compounds this.
  • Arranged Marriage: Originally to Eddard's older brother Brandon. By custom and necessitynote , Eddard replaced him as Catelyn's betrothed when he died.
  • Baby Factory: In one of her earliest chapters, Catelyn is hoping to get pregnant again and she's already given Ned five children, including three healthy sons at that point. This is rather notable given her heritage; all other descendants of House Whent (her mother's house) have terrible fertility problems (usually multiple miscarriages), to the point that her children and Robert Arryn are the only known descendants in their generation.
  • Back from the Dead: She was murdered by the Freys near the end of the third book, but Beric Dondarrion revived her after the Brotherhood Without Banners found her corpse by the riverside.
  • Berserk Button: Bastard-born children tick her off, because they remind her of her husband's illegitimate son (Jon Snow) with another woman, which reminds her Ned was unfaithful and of her fears that Ned may have loved Jon's mother more than her. When she meets Mya Stone, she acknowledges that she has nothing against Mya personally, but still is put out of sorts by meeting her as she is also an illegitimate child.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: After being resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, loving and devoted Catelyn becomes a cold, hateful, vicious woman. For most of the series, she only wanted to live in peace with her family; with no one left to protect, she sets out to destroy everyone she feels is responsible for her pain.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
    • She wanted Bran not to leave for the capitol. He is crippled and temporarily comatose.
    • Catelyn gets to see Robb marry a girl he loves. It leads to the Red Wedding.
    • She wanted to be unburdened of her matronly responsibilities. She becomes Lady Stoneheart and now gets to wreak havoc on those who killed her family with impunity, not knowing some still live.
  • Buxom Is Better: While at a wedding reception as the bedding gets underway, Catelyn Stark remembers from her own bedding that Lord Willam Dustin, upon seeing her bare breasts, joked to Eddard that they were enough to make him wish he'd never been weaned.
  • Came Back Wrong: To a point. While she's ten times as vicious and vindictive as she was in life, when she is compared to other resurrected characters, the changes she has undergone probably exacerbated latent tendencies which were always inside her somewhere. Add a truly traumatizing death beyond hellish even for this series, plus a delayed resurrection after her nearly-decapitated corpse has been left rotting in a river for days... and we get Lady Stoneheart.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • She tells Robb that sending Theon as an envoy to the Iron Islands is a bad idea. Robb does not listen, with disastrous results.
    • Subverted when Cat tells Robb not to trust Rolph Spicer because Robb's direwolf doesn't. Robb doesn't believe her but to make his mother happy, he sends Rolph away to make a prisoner exchange with the Lannisters. This puts Rolph in an excellent position to arrange Robb's betrayal.
    • She tries to pull Robb and the Northern Lords away from an all-out, vengeful war against the Crown by trying to advise alternative means of restitution, to no avail.
  • The Consigliere: To Robb.
  • Cool Big Sis: She was, to Edmure and Lysa.
  • Crusading Widow: It begins with Ned's death and it only goes downhill from there. Thinking all her children but Sansa have died, she has made it her purpose to destroy everything associated with the Freys and Lannisters.
    Catelyn Stark: Ned always said that the man who passes the sentence should swing the blade, though he never took any joy in the duty. But I would, oh, yes.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Merrett Frey as Lady Stoneheart, before having him hanged that terrified him more than anything else.
    But her eyes were the most terrible thing. Her eyes saw him, and they hated.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: With her treatment of her husband's illegitimate child, Jon Snow, she skirts the line of a Wicked Stepmother in the eyes of many modern readers, and she doesn't understand why Ned treats Jon as well as his trueborn children. In Westerosi society, Ned openly raising his illegitimate child (Jon) at home alongside the lawful children and closely with the oldest son is uncommon and may be seen by some as rubbing it in the wife's face (while Robb is unquestionably Ned's heir, Robb and Jon are raised and mentored in leadership together by Ned as his sons, growing up close as brothers).
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Comes very close when Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon, leading to her decision to free Jaime in desperation to at least save her daughters.
    • The Red Wedding breaks Catelyn. After her firstborn dies and she's revived, she goes over the edge.
  • Determinator: She is still looking for her children even after dying and being resurrected. When she finds out Arya is alive, she interrogates any Freys about the Hound traveling with a child.
  • Determined Widow: She powers on despite her husband's death.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Her freeing Jaime. Ignoring the dozen ways he and Brienne could have been waylaid trying to cross a war zone and how Jaime's release would affect Robb's position, the basis for the trade was Tyrion promising to release her daughters in exchange for Jaime. This promise was made at the same time as he sent men under a truce banner to murder some Riverrun guardsmen and free Jaime by force. This means Catelyn makes a very drastic decision, resulting in a significant action, based on the word of someone who had already showed he was willing to violate promises.
  • The Dreaded: As Lady Stoneheart. Merrett Frey when he's captured tries to argue that he didn't do anything but get drunk at the wedding. Then he sees a resurrected Catelyn and goes Oh, Crap! as she reveals that he was involved in the Red Wedding and orders his execution.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: She could have either stayed silent about her husband raising his illegitimate son Jon in Winterfell, something she resented, or she could have blighted her marriage by incurring Ned's distrust and ire by pushing the issue. She shut up and let it be for 14 years until Maester Luwin tells a dispirited Ned of Jon's wish to join the Night's Watch and is able to convince him to allow it.
  • Facial Horror: She tore the skin of her own face to shreds with her fingernails after seeing Robb die.
  • Fish out of Water: A Southerner living up North. She is still baffled by many of their customs. Rather fitting, considering that her house's sigil is a fish.
  • Foil:
    • To Cersei Lannister. They're both extremely determined women who would do anything to protect their children, but at first, Catelyn is presented much more sympathetically as a wise, protective maternal figure as opposed to a scheming bitch who will attempt to destroy anyone she even perceives as a threat to her offspring. However, they later become increasingly similar as the results of their respective actions on behalf of their children play out, particularly after Catelyn comes back from the dead and goes on a killing spree directed at anyone who ever wronged her family while she was alive or their associates.
    • To her sister, Lysa. They both live by the Tully words (Family, Duty, Honor) in their own ways. Catelyn does in a more overt, obvious way: protecting Ned and their children, doing what is expected of her to the best of her ability (until it crosses a line, that is), and shows respect and esteem to those who deserve it. Lysa is higly protective of her son, and no one else; she is a highly devoted mother, to put it lightly, and when talking of betrothing Sansa to her son Robert, coldly tells her she had better be an obedient, dutiful wife; Lysa honors people who serve her, but alas, they are usually just suck-ups vying for the role as her husband to be Lord of the Vale.
  • Hanging Judge: Lady Stoneheart is rather fond of the noose and decorates several trees in the Riverlands with hanging corpses
  • Happily Married: As noted above, what began as an Arranged Marriage to the younger brother of her murdered fiancé ended up with her and Ned truly falling in love with each other. The one blemish on this is her suspicion that Ned still carries a torch for Jon's mother, since he raises Jon alongside his legitimate children, which is highly unusual.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: By the time she's resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, she's just as bad as Cersei in how she executes adult and children Freys alike. When the Brotherhood encounters Brienne and Pod, Lady Stoneheart refuses to consider that Jaime may have had a change of heart and orders their execution unless Brienne betrays Jaime to her. Brienne may have been forced to do so to save Pod if not herself.
  • Hey, You!: It's indicated that the one time she called Jon by name was to tell him that she wishes he'd fallen from the tower instead of Bran.
  • I Have Many Names: Lady Stoneheart, The Silent Sister, Mother Merciless, The Hangwoman.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason Catelyn does not push the subject of Ned's illegitimate son Jon at Winterfell is because she does not want Ned to be angry with her and is aware of Ned's love for Jon. As such, she avoids bringing up this topic with Ned after Ned tells her never to ask about Jon's mother again, he wants to keep Jon at Winterfell, and she does not prevent Jon's close relationships with the rest of the family. However, she keeps contact with Jon to a bare minimum and allows Jon to be aware of her disdain for him.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Cat", used by her relatives, Ned, and Littlefinger.
  • Ironic Echo: Invoked. When she returns as Lady Stoneheart, she takes great delight in playing "The Rains of Castamere" each and every time she executes one of the people who wronged her and her family. Doubly so when it's a Frey, as she relishes seeing the horror on their face when they hear the music under which they once reveled with wild abandon but now it's being used to herald their own deaths. She'd laugh if she could.
  • Iron Lady:
    • Catelyn is proud, strong, honorable and upright. She holds duty over desire as a governing principle of behavior, has a strong grasp of politics and possesses considerable insight into what makes Westeros run. Even Renly Baratheon acknowledges her when they meet:
      Renly: Go softly, Lord Randyll, I fear you’re overmatched.
    • She frees Jaime Lannister in order to barter for the lives of Sansa and Arya without consulting what it could mean in terms of negotiation and a firm ground. She falls from grace in Robb's eyes for doing this, effectively making them weaker by leaving them without a proper exchange coin by losing their Lannister hostage. This is in great part one of the reasons Robb loses the war, as Tywin Lannister wouldn't have risked the Red Wedding while Jaime remained captive to the Starks.
  • Irony: Freeing Jaime Lannister was one of the biggest mistakes she made, trusting Brienne to escort him towards a hostage exchange. As Lady Stoneheart, she believes that Jaime broke his word and Brienne betrayed her to serve the Lannisters. Brienne can't exactly convince her because Lady Stoneheart is beyond reason.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While she is beyond reason, she thinks Brienne betrayed her because Jaime was freed but Sansa wasn't, Brienne is wearing and wielding Lannister steel, and she called out Jaime's name in her fever dreams. Yeah, Jaime charged Brienne to find Sansa and rescue her, but where can Sansa go that is safe? Brienne noticeably realizes that the lady isn't wrong to judge her in such a fashion and tells her to kill her if she must but to spare Pod since he's innocent.
    • She sees herself as this when she vehemently opposes Robb legitimizing Jon and naming him his heir. She's clearly driven by her sincere fear that Jon or his descendants might threaten Robb. Unfortunately, she has no way of knowing that Robb will soon be killed without fathering any children, so the point is moot.
  • Jerkass to One: Though she usually acts like a Proper Lady, she behaves coldly to her husband's bastard son.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: When she becomes Lady Stoneheart, the Brotherhood starts luring, hunting and killing Freys for the mere reason of them being Freys, no matter what they did during the Red Wedding. All of them are considered guilty by default and by proxy and the only possible result is death. According to the lore, this is actually the law of the land and of the seven gods. A man who betrays sacred hospitality is supposed to have his bloodline wiped out.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Many of Catelyn's issues with judgment calls and situational mishandling can, to a great extent, be seen as a result of this. However, she is basically a rational person, and her decisions make sense from her own POV and what little agency she sometimes has to work with.
    • She's a she: even highborn girls are rarely taught much about wider political or battlefield strategy, and Cat winds up having to advise her son on both with what she managed to pick up on the side of her main role of castle management and motherhood.
    • She was very likely purposely kept in the dark as to what had really happened regarding her sister's obsession with Petyr and how Lysa had treated him, let alone the whole abortion issue and how her sister's marriage with Jon Arryn was arranged as a result of it all. Worse, she couldn't know how all this bled into the backroom deals going on within the Rebellion at the time, including with her own marriage to Ned. This had very direct impacts on Cat's later decisions, character assessments and misunderstandings.
    • Her own husband's refusal to explain anything truthfully about Jon's birth and who his mother actually was became a major factor in a number of her actions and insecurities regarding his future actions.
    • Played for Drama when as Lady Stoneheart she finds Brienne with Tyrion's squire and a Lannister sword, made from Ned's melted blade. She doesn't believe Brienne when the latter says she's looking for Sansa to protect her, and it's hard to blame her. Why would a former bannerswoman wear the steel of the Starks's most formidable enemy?
  • Locked into Strangeness: Following her resurrection, half her hair fell out and the rest has turned white and brittle.
  • Mama Bear: Very protective and nurturing of her children and loves them above all. Even as Lady Stoneheart, she interrogates any Frey if they have seen the Hound traveling with a child, trying to find Arya.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Beric Dondarrion kissed her back to life after she was killed by the Freys.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All of the nicknames she gains after becoming Lady Stoneheart.
  • Not so Above It All:
    • Though she is nervous about Ned's appointment as Hand of the King in A Game of Thrones, part of the reason she wants him to go is because of the rise in social status this entails, However this is normal behaviour among Westerosi nobles, and makes much sense when one must consider the family legacy down the line.
    • While Catelyn is mostly very composed, she isn't immune from making rash decisions on sentiment and impulses. However, this is a trait shared by almost all characters.
  • Oblivious to Love: Cat thought that she and Littlefinger were Like Brother and Sister, and was not completely oblivious to Petyr's childhood crush on her, she understandably had no idea how creepily obsessed he was to her.
  • The One That Got Away: Littlefinger loved her greatly when they were young, going so far as to challenge her betrothed Brandon even though he had no chance. He lost, but he claims Cat is still the only woman he has ever loved. He felt so scorned and was left so angry that in reaction he rose in social status until he bankrupted the kingdom, plunging it into civil war resulting in the destruction of Houses Stark, Arryn and Tully.
  • Only Sane Woman: Played with. Catelyn is one of Robb's most level-headed advisers. However, the extent to which she is able to wield influence is limited, because much of her good advice is often dismissed because she is a woman.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: By the time of the Red Wedding, she believes Arya, Bran, and Rickon are all dead (even if none of them actually are), and this belief factors into her Sanity Slippage. She finally loses it when she sees Robb killed. What softens the blow a little is that as Lady Stoneheart she finds out Arya is alive and asks the Brotherhood Without Banners to look for her.
  • Parental Favoritism: She loves all of her children deeply and is certainly one of the more caring parents among Westerosi nobles, but she admits Bran is her favourite child, and when it comes to her daughters, she much prefers the ladylike Sansa over the rebellious Arya.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Originally married Ned out of obligation, but they grew to love each other.
  • Pet the Dog: As Lady Stoneheart, she asks any Freys unlucky enough to be captured if they saw the Hound traveling with a child. It hints that she knows Arya is alive and wants to save her daughter.
  • Proper Lady: Catelyn follows the conventions of her culture on what makes a proper lady.
  • Promotion to Parent: Her mother died giving birth to her youngest child (who also died), which prompted her to act like a mother to Edmure and Lysa and the de facto lady of Riverrun growing up. Other characters note that this had come very naturally to her, but her general fatigue at always having to be nurturing and supportive suggests it's never been as easy for her as she could make it look.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Subverted. You would expect that Lady Stoneheart deciding to hunt down the Freys and exterminate them would be a bad idea as opposed to focusing on the Lannisters or helping the Baratheons. That's not how it works; it turns out that she's depleting the Freys of valuable men who would serve as heirs or soldiers and forcing them to divide their surviving family members to deal with the Tullys, a vengeful North, and the Brotherhood. Quite unwittingly, Catelyn is more dangerous undead than she was alive and she has enough wits to ask if any of the Freys she captured saw the Hound or Arya.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After her resurrection, she decides to hunt down all Freys and Lannisters. If you wanted to know where Arya got it from, it was from Catelyn.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shows signs of this as early as the first book, when she giggles out of relief when the Catspaw assassin set fire to the library tower instead of the one she's in, greatly disturbing Robb (although this could just as easily be the stress getting to her). But after witnessing Robb's death and coming back from the dead, her sanity seems questionable at best.
  • The Scourge of God: Lady Stoneheart is effectively a divine punishment for Walder Frey's grievous violation of guest right.
  • Settle for Sibling: Invoked. She was promised to Brandon Stark, but after the Mad King had him executed, she married his brother Eddard to unite the Stark and Tully houses.
  • Shrouded in Myth: As Lady Stoneheart. One the many rumors told about her is that she's Lord Beric Dondarrion's lover.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The Tully motto is ''Family, Duty, Honor," and those are the words Cat lives by even after becoming Lady Stoneheart.
  • Slashed Throat: One of the Freys slashes her throat at the Red Wedding. After she's resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, Catelyn is unable to speak unless she puts her hand over her throat. Even then, her speech is hard to understand.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Out of Catelyn's five children, four have inherited her Tully auburn hair and blue eyes (Sansa and all the boys, with only Arya favoring Ned in appearance), but Sansa is noted by multiple characters to be the spitting image of her when she was younger.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Not so much Ned's infidelity (she grew up knowing men can be unfaithful) but his decision to openly raise his illegitimate son Jon Snow alongside his trueborn children.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Robb's crown for Lady Stoneheart.
  • Tragic Villain: After she's turned into an undead killer zombie hell-bent on revenge for all the wrongdoings towards her family.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Subverted. She's emotionally cold and distant towards her husband's bastard son Jon, but for good reason. Ned had offended her as his wife by not only hiding who his mother was, but also giving him a good life and raising him alongside his legitimate kids in defiance of how Westerosi noblemen usually treat their bastards (to wit, Cersei thinks Catelyn was weak for not murdering Jon in his crib). Catelyn interprets Ned's treatment of Jon as him still carrying a torch for Jon's mother. To her credit, she never interfered with Jon's good relationships with her half-siblings, and Jon otherwise had a warm and happy childhood with his family.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The poor woman's essentially lost everyone that she loves: her husband was killed by The Caligula, she believes Bran, Rickon and Arya to all be dead, the Lannisters are holding Sansa hostage and forced the girl to marry Tyrion, and her last seconds of life entail her falling into madness after watching her son, Robb, be murdered right before her eyes. Now she's been resurrected as a walking corpse that "lives" only for revenge against those who betrayed and killed her family. With that said, she finds out Arya is alive and tries to find out where the Hound traveled with her daughter
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Catelyn's meanest moment is when she tells Jon he should have been crippled instead of Bran. Jon, also grieved over Bran, was trying to comfort her at the time.

    Benjen Stark 

Benjen Stark

Eddard's younger brother and uncle to Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. He is First Ranger in the Night's Watch.

See Night's Watch Rangers.

The Stark Children

    Robb Stark 

King Robb Stark, the King in the North and King of the Trident, Lord of Winterfell

The Young Wolf, The King Who Lost The North
"I have won every battle, and yet I feel like I'm losing the war."

"Gods be good, why would any man ever want to be king? When everyone was shouting King in the North, King in the North, I told myself… swore to myself… that I would be a good king, as honorable as Father, strong, just, loyal to my friends and brave when I faced my enemies… now I can’t even tell one from the other. How did it all get so confused?"

Eddard's oldest son and heir, fourteen turning fifteen at the beginning of the series. While young, he proves to be a bold and promising ruler when his father leaves to join the King's court. He is loyal to his father's people and shares his father's commitment to honor above all. He and Rickon are the only Stark children that do not serve as POV characters. Becomes King in the North and of the Trident after his father's death and the beginning of the War of the Five Kings.

His direwolf is Grey Wind, named for his speed and smoky gray fur.

  • Annoying Arrows: Gets wounded in his arm by an arrow while storming the Crag, which led to a minor infection which was quickly treated. He was also shot by crossbow bolts as part of his Rasputinian Death; see below.
  • Arranged Marriage: He agrees to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters in a political arrangement to secure their forces. He later breaks this arrangement to everyone's sorrow.
  • Badass Crew: In every battle, he is surrounded by a bodyguard made of the badass sons (and daughter, in Dacey's case) of his lord bannermen. It's also a deconstruction, in that having lords and heirs protecting such a high-value target means that there is always the possibility of political upheaval back home if one of them should die.
  • Beneath the Mask: There are several hints that despite his victories and legendary reputation (or perhaps because of them), Robb fears he's in way over his head and feels crushed by the weight of his responsibilities.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's very protective of his younger siblings but unfortunately doesn't succeed in protecting any of them. When Bran and Rickon were believed to be dead after Theon's attack of Winterfell, Robb was utterly devastated. He really wanted to rescue Sansa and Arya from King's Landing, but several factors complicated his efforts. In the end, he predeceased all four of them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the first book, his timely rescue of Riverrun saves the region from total subjugation to the Lannisters.
  • Big Good: He follows in his father's footsteps by being this, especially to the North and the Riverlands. Even after his death, his legacy lives on in the Stark loyalists who are plotting to overthrow the Boltons and avenge him.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Hits him pretty hard. He goes from heroic icon to utter failure to dead martyr.
  • Character Tics: Catelyn notes that he used to chew on his lip when he was little, like Arya does.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He was crowned at fifteen!
  • Cool Crown: An open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords.
  • Dead Guy on Display: After his assassination, his decapitated corpse, with Grey Wind's crowned head sewn onto it as a final insult, is paraded around by a group of Frey bannermen to show that he is really dead.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the charismatic Young Conqueror and Rebel Leader out to avenge his father, rescue his sisters and liberate his country. Despite his tactical and strategic prowess, Robb makes key political errors (sending Theon Greyjoy to Pyke, marrying Jeyne Westerling) and loses control over his bannermen. He fails to avenge his father because he followed a similar obstructive sense of honor. He doesn't save his sisters because Arya is presumed dead and Sansa's forced marriage to a Lannister makes her a political liability.
  • Didn't Think This Through: He's one of the series poster boys for this trope (and there's a lot of them).
  • Doomed Protagonist: Declaring oneself King of the Trident is a de-facto declaration of war, with the Riverlands being the most disputed region in Westeros in droves. It's basically a guarantee that one would never achieve peace even in the long run; it's a fact that no ruler of the Riverlands held them for very long and it was only under the Targaryens that the region saw some amount of peace.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "The King Who Lost the North" among Roose Bolton and Rickard Karstark.
  • The Executioner: Robb Stark is forced to execute Rickard Karstark after he allows some of his men to butcher innocent Lannister prisoners. Rickard Karstark, even as he curses Robb, does express some gratitude that Robb held true to those beliefs (which extend to all descendants of the First Men) and executed him with his own hand rather than someone else's.
  • Fatal Flaw: The code of honor, his trust in his friend Theon Greyjoy, but mostly his youth.
  • Foil: Though they are bitter enemies, Robb Stark's arc is similar to Jaime Lannister's backstory. They are both accomplished warriors from proud and powerful families. Both found themselves in the role of a hero in a time of war, and failed to live up to the world's great expectations. Their honorable acts are overshadowed by the controversial decisions they made as young men. Both Robb and Jaime have individual monologues in which they lampshade the twisted nature of Westerosi politics and traditions, and how easy it is to lose sight of what is really right.
  • Frontline General: Like his father, he always personally leads his men into battle, or at the very least takes the more dangerous command posts. He's quite sensible about it, however, keeping a strong bodyguard of knights which saves his life when the more reckless Jaime Lannister tries to escape an ambush by leading a charge directly at him.
  • Happily Married: To Jeyne Westerling during the third book before he's killed because of it.
  • Heir Club for Men: After learning Bran and Rickon are dead, he becomes seriously worried about dying without heirs, as Sansa is married to a Lannister (and he believes they'll kill her once they get an heir out of her, meaning she's as good as dead) and Arya is presumed dead. His will legitimized Jon, named him his heir despite Catelyn's objections, putting him above Sansa who was the presumed sole heir presumptive at the time, to protect the North from the Lannisters, in the event of him dying childless.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His detractors state he had abandoned the North just to conquer a kingdom for himself in the more pleasant Riverlands. However, they are clearly in the minority, and most people are horrified by his murder.
  • History Repeats: Just like his uncle and father before him, Robb failed to rescue his sisters.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: To Jeyne, preserving her honor after they slept together.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • He takes after his father in this respect. He married Jeyne Westerling to protect her honour, breaking a political arrangement that cost him a large part of his forces...and ultimately gets him viciously killed.
    • Robb rejects Catelyn's initial proposal to form an alliance with Renly Baratheon on the basis of Renly trying to bypass succession rites that should rightfully be Stannis's. Robb views that if he were to side with Renly it would set a dangerous precedent such as it would give his own little brothers Bran or Rickon the ground to try and overthrow him should they want to.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • He makes the terrible mistake of trusting Roose Bolton, whom his father has always distrusted, and of putting in important positions of leadership, allowing Roose to betray and scheme against him with Tywin Lannister. He thinks that his foster brother Theon is loyal and dependable and sends him as an envoy to Balon Greyjoy (thus losing what leverage the Starks had over the Greyjoys), not anticipating that Balon would reject his offer of an alliance against the Lannisters and strike against the North instead, or that Theon would betray him. He also greatly underestimates how petty, opportunistic and treacherous Walder Frey and most of his family are. These mistakes in judgement prove to be fatal to him, leading to his death during the Red Wedding.
    • Robb's poor read on just how petty Balon Greyjoy and Walder Frey are is ultimately the catalyst to the failure of his rebellion against King's Landing. Robb assumes that any enmity that exists between their houses can be put aside for the greater threat that is the Lannisters.
    • Robb sends Theon as an envoy in hopes that he will be able to recruit Balon and the Iron Fleet in his cause; promising if they do so that he will "give Balor his crown". Balor is insulted by this notion, because of the reality that anything Robb was to give him would just as easily be taken away. The fact that Robb failed to offer anything else of value in return, motivated Balon to throw his own hat into the ring and have Theon perform a coup to steal Winterfell for the Iron Islands.
    • Robb enters into and later breaks a Marriage pact with House Frey. Robb tries to compensate for this by arranging for his uncle to marry a Frey woman in his stead, but Walder Frey is spiteful to this broken promise. He cares about his status and image more than anything else and this leads to him conspiring with Roose Bolton for the Red Wedding.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Less pronounced than Sansa and Bran because he's older, but he's still quite naïve to how the world works outside the battlefield.
  • I've Come Too Far: After receiving news of Ned's arrest at King's Landing, Robb's immediate response is to rally all the Northern Houses to preemptively march for war. Both his younger brother Bran and Maester Luwin attempted to try and talk Robb down out of this action, but Robb is firm in his convictions. By the time he reunites with his mother Catelyn, Robb finally admits in private that he is indeed second guessing himself, but Catelyn tells him that at this point it's far too late for Robb to back down, lest he risks losing the respect of the Northern Lords.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Catelyn often reflects on the various aspects in which Robb resembles his father. Robb himself looks at his father for inspiration and follows his teaching. Well, given what happened to Ned, he should have been more careful in following him...
  • My Beloved Smother: Robb feels this a bit toward his mother Catelyn when she argues his attempt to disinherit her daughters. Robb grows accustomed to having his word obeyed, and does not like when his mother brings up reasonable criticisms. This leads to his decision to imprison her at Seagard.
  • "Near and Dear" Baby Naming: He's named after King Robert Baratheon, his father's best friend.
  • Nice Guy: Like Ned, he's mostly a well-adjusted, fair person, if a bit reserved.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • To the young King Edward IV, whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville alienated his supporter Warwick the Kingmaker to betray him. In real life, Edward IV dodged that bullet but Robb Stark pays a steep price.
    • His life as a Young Conqueror genius tactician from Grim Up North who dies as the result of betrayal may also remind one of Charles XII of Sweden.
    • He leads a rebellion against the crown, trying to secede the Northern half of the kingdom, like William Wallace (yes, the one from Braveheart). It helps that the North is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Scotland and Northern England, while the Westerlands are one to Southern England. Also, we have Tywin Lannister sharing many traits with King Edward Longshanks, while Robb shares his name with the first Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Not to mention that, like Wallace, Robb was betrayed by an ally and killed, letting Tywin Lannister (just like Edward Longshanks) win the war.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Is shot with a crossbow, stabbed in the heart, and decapitated, before having his direwolf's head sewn onto the corpse as a final insult. Doubles as Rasputinian Death as he gets shot by many crossbow bolts, but is still standing. It's only Roose Bolton stabbing him in the heart that finishes the job.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Decides to marry Jeyne after sleeping with her so as not to leave her Defiled Forever. Oh, Robb... that's such a sweet thought, but no.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: His decision to break his marriage pact with the Freys for Jeyne's sake causes him to be betrayed by Walder Frey and murdered at his uncle's wedding.
  • One Thing Led to Another: His first night with Jeyne was the result of hearing about his siblings' "deaths".
    Robb: She... comforted me, mother.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: All of the Stark siblings are wargs.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Part of his downfall is Edmure Tully fighting a tactically victorious battle against Tywin that foils Robb's strategic plan. However all Robb told Edmure was "hold Riverrun". He meant "literally only Riverrun", but never explained that to Edmure, despite there being very little downside to doing so.
  • The Promise: "I will not lose." He keeps it in a literal sense, as he never loses a battle, but in the end it doesn't help him much.
  • Promotion to Parent: For Bran and Rickon, when both Eddard and Catelyn leave Winterfell. He fails, for the most part, but does a much better job with Bran than he does with Rickon.
  • Rasputinian Death: He gets pierced by multiple arrows all over his body, viciously beaten and then finally stabbed by Roose Bolton before finally dying.
  • Red Baron: "The Young Wolf."
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Their very first description serves to put Jon in stark contrast with Robb, who is more fiery in both appearance and personality than Jon, though they are very close as brothers.
  • Sex Equals Love: Robb believes that it does, or at least that it should. He marries Jeyne Westerling after spending one night with her, but their relationship is described as a loving one later.
  • Sex for Solace: When he storms the ancestral keep of the Westerlings, he is wounded by an arrow and soon receives news of Bran and Rickon's supposed deaths at the hands of Theon. Jeyne Westerling nursed him and ended up sleeping with him.
  • Shotgun Wedding: At his insistence, since he feels a need to make an honest woman out of Jeyne now that he has himself despoiled her. This is an Idiot Ball moment and everyone knows it: even Tyrion, who knows firsthand that Love Makes You Stupid, thinks Robb's actions were a mistake.
  • Shrouded in Myth: He becomes an instant legend thanks to his exploits. They even start to say he has magic powers.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Jon, who is quieter and more reserved than he is. Unlike their sisters, to whom this trope also applies, Jon and Robb are extremely close. Also counts as a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic.
    Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast.
  • Slave to PR:
    • Something of a Downplayed Trope, while Robb's Rebellion against Lannister's is motivated by the righteous fury over his father's unjust death, a good deal of it was also influenced by his war-hungry bannerman, who saw the rebellion as the perfect opportunity to return to their independence. Even as Robb develops second thoughts to the idea, Catelyn is quick to remind him that it's too late to give up lest he risk losing the respect of the Northern Lords. Despite this, Robb also makes it a point to otherwise not let the older Lords push him around or challenge his authority.
    • Despite Catelyn's urgings, he is unwilling to trade Jaime back to the Lannisters in exchange for Sansa and Arya, as his bannermen would object to exchanging such a high-profile hostage for two girls. This is Deliberate Values Dissonance.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Robb attempts to invoke this with Catelyn as he turns down her strategic advise, suggesting that she catch a ship with Theon so that she can return to Winterfell since Bran and Rickon need their mother.
  • Succession Crisis: Robb is well aware that should he die before siring an heir, the Northern alliance might fall apart, especially after his siblings become unsuitable (Bran and Rickon are reported dead at Theon's hands, Sansa is married to Tyrion Lannister, and the truth of Arya's status has been a mystery since Ned was arrested, so Robb believes she is dead and if she's not then the Lannisters have her as well). His solution is to legitimize his half-brother Jon as a Stark so that he can reign as King in the North if something happens to Robb. Needless to say, this is done over his mother's strident objections. He sends Galbart Glover and Maege Mormont to Greywater Watch to find Howland Reed, along with a letter naming Jon as his successor. So far, this remains a dangling plot thread.
  • Supporting Leader: Robb is the one leading the "good" Stark forces despite being the only member of his family who is not a POV character besides young Rickon. His story is mostly told in Catelyn's POV chapters.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: While Robb Stark did make genuine political mistakes (sending Theon Greyjoy to Pyke, breaking his engagement to the Freys), he's also let down by impulsive, short-sighted and plainly irrational choices by the people around him. There's Catelyn Tully releasing Jaime Lannister out of captivity under grief over Bran and Rickon's supposed deaths, there's Rickard Karstark's impulsive attack on the young Lannister nephews which doesn't help anyone in any fashion except make the situation worse. Likewise, Edmure Tully taking his order to "Hold Riverrun and guard my rear" as license to wage an unnecessary battle on Tywin Lannister as he's leaving the Riverlands, ruining Robb's careful strategy that would have lured Tywin to certain defeat.
  • Teen Genius: A military genius who was made King in the North at 14.
  • Tragic Hero: Like his father, Robb's initial success at rallying the forces of the North is cut short after he makes a number of mistakes largely because of his code of honour, and of other circumstances beyond his control such as Balon Greyjoy having a grudge against his family he didn't know about or Renly Baratheon's assassination by a shadow baby made by Melisandre.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fails to see the full extent of the impending backlash of his marriage to Jeyne. His attempts to mollify the Freys don't cut it.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: An unusual heroic example. Ned was a fundamentally good man whose adherence to duty and honour made him a prime target for those lacking such scruples. Catelyn sees the same noble qualities in Robb and is rightly worried that they'll cost him, too, when he slights a key marriage alliance to satisfy his own personal duty to a girl he deflowered in a moment of sorrow and weakness. They do, and Robb joins his father in death.
  • Warrior Prince: Robb spends most of his reign as king fighting a rebellion against the Iron Throne.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Subverted. Though his father loves him and is very proud of him, it has led to Robb feeling like any failure on his part would make him unworthy of said love.
  • Wolfpack Boss: He's this to Jaime Lannister at Whispering Wood. Individually, he and each of his cadre of highborn bodyguards are no match for the Kingslayer (indeed, he ends up killing several) but together, Robb and his group repel his attempt to go Straight for the Commander and capture Jaime.
  • Young and in Charge: He is fourteen when the series begins, which causes some of his bannermen to question his position as their leader. Despite how potent Robb is in the field of battle, he is also prone to the mistakes a young boy would make in his personal affairs.

    Sansa Stark* 

Princess Sansa Stark

Little bird, Jonquil, Winterfell's daughter, little she-wolf, Alayne Stone
"My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel."

Eddard's oldest daughter. She is an optimistic and innocent eleven-year-old girl during the beginning of the series, originally set to become the next queen. Her main flaw is that she is very naïve, often thinking that the harsh world around her works like it does in romantic fairytales. Ouch. Needless to say, certain events change that. She seems to be becoming more savvy, cynical and manipulative, with the help of Littlefinger.

Her direwolf is Lady, the smallest and sweetest of the litter.

  • Alliterative Name: Sansa Stark.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Played with. Sansa explicitly wants someone noble and chivalrous, but few of the men she likes are as nice or cool as she thinks they are. She is first mentioned having a crush on Ser Waymar Royce. She absolutely adores Joffrey in the beginning and makes excuses for everything he does before he orders her father's death, after which she comes to hate him. She later develops a more genuine and personal attraction toward Joffrey's mercurial bodyguard, The Hound, the complete opposite of her dream man. Even Loras Tyrell, the one man she likes who most resembles her Knight in Shining Armor fantasy, is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who's clearly not into her.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: One of the aspects that brings her the most pain after she's sent crashing down from her idealist views is that she came to realize that no one has shown her even the slightest bit of romantic love. All affection and interest shown towards her has had an ulterior motive completely linked to her being a political pawn.
    Sansa's thoughts: No one will ever marry me for love.
  • Almost Kiss: Played with. Sansa remembers The Hound having kissed her before he left King's Landing. No such thing actually happened—Sandor event later confirms to Arya.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Done by proxy. Sansa is forced to marry into House Lannister after Tywin and Cersei arrange for her to marry Tyrion—without telling Sansa until the morning of the wedding. She attempts to run, but is quickly caught and brought to the altar against her wishes.
  • Animal Motifs: Besides the standard direwolf imagery, Sansa herself is often compared to a bird.
    • Sandor calls her "little bird" and demands a song from her. Initially, he calls her like that because she is taught to repeat her handlers' words, like a bird from the Summer Islands; mockingly, that would be a parrot. Later, the meaning changes to something less mocking.
    • She's also in the company of Littlefinger, whose personal sigil is a mockingbird.
    • By the end of A Feast for Crows, she resides in the Vale of Arryn. The sigil of House Arryn is a falcon.
  • Arranged Marriage: Her high social standing leads to a number of offers, none of which end up very well.
    • Robert proposes a marriage between her and his eldest son Joffrey, thinking there could be nothing better than joining his best friend's family with his own. It doesn't happen.
    • During A Storm of Swords, the Tyrells try to marry her to Willas, Mace Tyrell's son and heir to Highgarden, for her claim to Winterfell once all of her trueborn brothers are out of the way. Sansa feels relieved by this (despite the fact that Willas is a cripple), since it will allow her to get away from the Lannisters' grasp, but...
    • Tywin Lannister catches wind of the Tyrell's plan and marries Sansa to his dwarf son Tyrion, who ends up treating her better than the rest of the family.
    • In A Feast for Crows, Petyr tells Sansa that as soon as Cersei finds and kills Tyrion, thus freeing her from her marriage to him, she shall be wed to the heir to the Vale. Once this happens, he plans to have Sansa shed her Alayne Stone disguise and reclaim Winterfell in the Stark name, thus becoming the Lady of both the North and the East.
  • Attempted Rape: Four times. This poor girl just can't seem to catch a break.
    • An angry mob at King's Landing attacks Joffrey and nearly drags Sansa from her horse. Sandor cuts them down and rescues her. Another noblewoman was gang-raped during this riot, so this could have been Sansa's fate had she not been rescued.
    • She fears the Hound might try to force a kiss on her when he appears in her room the night of the siege and forces her onto her bed with a knife to her throat. The reader finds out later that he was close to raping her, but her song changed his heart.
    • Joffrey threatens to do this to her during her wedding to Tyrion. Tyrion stops this by threatening to cut off Joffrey's cock.
    • The drunk singer Marillion proposes to sleep with her when he sees her for the first time. She spurns him, but that doesn't quite stop him. When Lothor Brune shakes Marillion off her, she thinks he was Sandor for a moment.
  • Awful Wedded Life: She doesn't enjoy being married to Tyrion one bit because their marriage was done against her will and is clearly an attempt by the Lannisters to control Winterfell through her. She also lives in constant fear of him using his Marital Rape License. He doesn't treat her badly by the standards of the time, but he's still a Lannister and the bad blood between their Houses isn't something that's easily set aside.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite Sansa seeing Arya as the Annoying Younger Sibling for most of A Game of Thrones and continuing to think poorly of her in later books, even when she thinks Arya is dead, she imagines having a daughter who looks like her, along with sons who resemble her brothers.
  • Bastard Understudy: After the abuse at the hands of the Lannisters, Littlefinger is educating her in the game of thrones and the lies therein.
  • Beast and Beauty: A motif most prominently seen with the hideous-looking Sandor Clegane, who is as predatory as he is protective with her. Averted with Tyrion Lannister; though recognizing Tyrion's attempts at kindness, she cannot bring herself to feel for him as she does Sandor (although it should be noted that this is not because of Tyrion's looks, but rather due to her very understandable hatred of the Lannisters.)
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: She has to abandon most of the stuff about living honestly and honorably taught to her as a Stark, if she is to survive.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: When Joffrey shows her the heads of her father and household on spikes, Sansa actually moves to push him off the bridge they're on. She's stopped by Sandor Clegane.
  • Big Brother Worship:
    • To Robb, somewhat. She doesn't precisely play the trope straight, but she does have shades of it internally (as she has to publicly declare him a traitor in order to keep her head.) Justified as Robb's forces are her best hope of getting out of King's Landing.
      Robb will kill them all, she thought, exulting.
  • Bond Creatures: She and Lady never really did get a chance to explore their warging nature that much, but judging by how distraught she was upon her direwolf's death, it was still very much a part of their combined makeup. Whether she can still explore possible skinchanging herself is unknown at this point. It's not like she's had much chance to be around wolves, dogs, or even other creatures since. She does meet an old blind dog in A Storm of Swords though and quickly befriends him.
  • Book Smart: She's better at reading and writing than her siblings and is skilled in the arts, though she's not good at math. She has also memorized many sigils and information about important people, as she can identify Barristan Selmy and Renly Baratheon just by looking at them for the first time.
  • Break the Cutie: Sansa has the wrong idea about the world she lives in. Cersei Lannister and her deranged son make sure to teach her that the world is a cruel place by subjecting her to constant abuse and imprisonment.
    Sansa's thoughts: There are no heroes... In life, the monsters win.
  • Break the Haughty: She starts out thinking handsome guys are always the best, but after the Starks fall out of grace, the only people who defend her from Joffrey are the horribly scarred Sandor Clegane (who admittedly is still a bastard in the non-literal sense) the kind but deformed Tyrion Lannister, and the fat, disgraced hedge knight-turned-jester Dontos.
  • Broken Bird: Her Break the Cutie process had left her a much more jaded girl than she was before. Fittingly, she is even called "Little Bird" by Sandor.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Her image of living in a medieval fantasy world crumbles when she meets people who seem to exemplify different stereotypes of that world. Her Prince Charming Joffrey is a sadist, Drunk with Power. The High Queen Cersei is manipulative and cruel. The knights who she thought are champions of justice and protectors of the weak turn out to be, at worst, Axe-Crazy thugs, or at best, morally detached men who use duty as an excuse from taking actual responsibility for the bad things they were ordered to do.
    • Her view of the Tyrells, the family she thought might save her from the Lannisters. She realizes that Loras' chivalry is all for show and that she doesn't mean anything to him. After Sansa is married off to Tyrion, and thus no longer a useful pawn, Margaery dumps her without a backward glance. Littlefinger reveals that Olenna set her up to take the blame for Joffrey's murder.
    • Sansa even becomes disillusioned with her family as The Hound tells her the atrocities being done to them was probably done by them to others so the Starks can remain supreme.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: She is frequently compared to a bird during her captivity in King's Landing.
  • Character Development: From her initial appearance, she changes the most of anyone in the series with the exception of Jaime Lannister. She goes from a totally naive and out-of-her-element child to a manipulative liar-in-training. The first sign that she is changing is when she admits that Joffrey is a monster.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Her cover story as Alayne Stone, Littlefinger's bastard daughter, is that her mother was a Braavosi noblewoman who died giving birth to her, and that she was raised by septas.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of The Ingenue: Not only does she subvert the Disneyfied expectations of her character, but she doesn't die off like most characters like her do in Crapsack Worlds. Instead, Sansa survives through her emotional strength, and gradually learns how to manipulate and scheme to her own ends.
  • Damsel in Distress: Being constantly among enemies while she's a non-combatant, Sansa requires rescuing more than once.
  • Domestic Abuse: Poor girl is on the receiving end of this from Joffrey and his knights as petty revenge for Robb's victories. Part of her Trauma Conga Line.
  • Dye or Die: Sansa must dye her distinctive auburn locks to a generic brown to mask her identity.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: While Sansa does well in all her other lessons, she's terrible at math. Arya comments that if she marries Joffrey, he better have a good steward.
  • Fallen Princess: She begins the series having everything a person in Westeros could ask for, but it all begins crumbling beneath her when the game of thrones begins.
  • Fall Guy: She is framed as a willing conspirator in the death of King Joffrey; turns out she was turned into a scapegoat by Olenna Tyrell.
  • First Period Panic: Justified. Sansa is afraid of getting her period because it would mean she could be married off to Joffrey. When she eventually wakes up with bloody sheets, she has a meltdown and tries in vain to hide the evidence.
  • Foil:
    • Sansa is a foil to her sister Arya. She's a deconstruction of the Princess Classic and Arya is a deconstruction of the Tomboy Princess, but their trials have many similarities. Each have their idealist worldviews shattered, cope with various forms of abuse, are forced to flee and change their identities, and have to rely on individuals who are... less than trustworthy.
    • Lysa Tully. Both Lysa and Sansa fell in love with the wrong kind of man except Lysa never learns and becomes Littlefinger's willing pawn going so far as killing her husband Jon Arryn for his sake.
    • Cersei Lannister. She and Sansa both dreamed of becoming queen, but quickly became disenchanted with the social expectations that came with this.
    • Littlefinger. Both he and Sansa were Wide Eyed Idealists as children and had sweet, gentle natures before going through a horrendous Break the Cutie and Trauma Conga Line process, resulting in both becoming cynical and emotionally guarded.
    • The Hound. When he was younger, he had an idealistic and naive outlook, wanting to be a great knight like Sansa wanted to be a Lady, but was quickly robbed of it by his brother. He sees these same qualities in Sansa and attempts to both enlighten and protect her, ironically functioning as the Knight in Shining Armor (albeit an offbeat one) that he claims doesn't exist.
    • Curiously, to Tyrion. Though they are on opposite physionomic spectra when it comes to beauty, gender and size, they are intertwined in their stories. They come to the bitter realization that no one will ever marry them for love. They are both rather intelligent, if naive and they have to contend against the same people in King's Landing. They end up married to each other against their will and they are currently on flight, as they are both accused of conspiring to kill Joffrey.
  • Forced to Watch: She's made to watch at her father's execution after being told that he would be shown mercy. Later Joffrey takes her out of her rooms and makes her stare at her father's head as it rots on a spike.
  • Freudian Slip: In A Feast for Crows, Myranda Royce mentions that at the Wall, Eddard Stark's bastard son has been elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Sansa blurts out "Jon Snow?". As Littlefinger's daughter, she shouldn't even know who he is.
  • Gilded Cage: Her position as Joffrey's future queen. She's in a beautiful castle surrounded by servants, material comforts, and a glorified hostage, betrothed to a sadistic monster who killed her father while her family is being destroyed. Oh, and the noble guards dressed in gleaming white there to protect the whole family (which technically includes her) beat her on her royal fiance's orders. Even when Margaery ends up engaged to Joffrey, Sansa finds out that the king can still rape her, only their children will be illegitimate.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: One of several Good Princesses to Cersei's Evil Queen. Cersei is a cruel and manipulative queen regent who is treats the naive and romantic protagonist Sansa horribly. Sansa in turn fits the role of a fairytale princess as well having the actual rank after her brother's coronation. Of course, similar to Arya who is forced to hide her identity in the Riverlands in order to evade the Lannisters, Sansa's position as a Northern princess is understandably not recognised by the Lannister regime.
  • Has a Type: She wants herself a Princely Young Man very, very badly. The candidates turn out to be Jerk Jock-ish at best (with Loras' Incompatible Orientation to boot) and Joffrey at worst. Including the wannabe-rapist Marillion, any hot guy that has a business with her will be a certified Jerkass.
  • The Heart: She's not usually able to be in this position, but during the Blackwater when Cersei abandons the women and children stuck in the castle, Sansa calms them down and makes the whole room less afraid.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: She starts the story as an eleven-year-old girl, but quickly starts growing up; everyone starts to praise her beauty and virtually every male character who can get away with it attempts to molest her (with the only exception being the who one actually has the "right" to do it, Tyrion Lannister). And the exception is an exception only because of scruples and not lack for interest. Meanwhile, Sansa herself is fantasizing about Sandor Clegane, who she has romanticized by misremembering their not so great interactions. Such as that time he forced her onto her bed with a blade at her throat.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Her father's death brings about one. She spends days locked in her chamber, not eating, only sleeping and crying. At one point she even contemplates jumping out the window to her death, but doesn't have the nerve to go through with it.
    • After Joffrey orders her beaten and stripped, Tyrion rescues her and orders the castle doctor to tend to her injuries. Sansa spends the whole time silent and shaking as the maids clean her up and try to comfort her, and she takes the wine that the doctor offers her. She only recovers the next day when Tyrion apologizes for the traumatic experience.
    • She freaks out when she starts menstruating, to the point where she tries to burn her mattress to hide it. What she's really afraid of is that Joffrey will try raping her as soon as he finds out.
    • The poor girl spends her time after hearing about the Red Wedding in a catatonic state.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • She begins as one, thinking everyone who is highborn and pretty to be good. She's even determined to see Joffrey as Prince Charming and Cersei as The High Queen. As soon as she sees their true colors, her worldview changes and she stops being this, being able to judge people somewhat more accurately. Still, since she feels she can't pick up on who her allies are, she just starts to seclude herself from the world whenever feasible, assuming everyone wants to hurt her.
    • Her chapters in the books generally show her as a very perceptive and meticulous young lady, though she is still a diamond in raw and she often questions her judgement. For example, she is one among a handful of characters to realize that there's something rather... off about Littlefinger, only to dismiss it after a moment.
  • Hyper-Awareness: As indicated by her narration, she is incredibly observant and prone to picking up the smallest details, but just doesn't know how to use this correctly until Littlefinger begins teaching her. She is also one of few characters able to provide an intimate glimpse into Littlefinger's psyche; indeed, one of the very first things she notices about him upon being introduced to him is how his eyes doesn't smile when his mouth does.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: After assuming the identity of Alayne Stone, Littlefinger's bastard daughter. Although she is still quite privileged by bastard standards as she is allowed to order servants about, she is still saddened by not being able to wear the clothes and jewels she wishes to since that would threaten her cover. Of course, it's a much better life than where she was in Kings Landing and she realizes that.
  • I Have Your Wife: Used as leverage against Ned in an effort to get him to submit to the Lannisters' bidding. Later, she is used as a hostage in King's Landing to try and make the North bend the knee. It doesn't work until Catelyn gives them the opening for the Red Wedding.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: One of her main gripes with her being cast down from her Wide-Eyed Idealist situation is that no one has made the slightest effort to approach her with romantic intentions. In A Feast For Crows, she is already resigned to the belief that no one will marry her out of love.
  • The Ingenue: Deconstructed. Her naivety and innocence only serve to make her life hell, and derail her father's plans to protect their family.
  • Innocence Lost: Goes from sweet Princess Classic to Broken Bird over a couple of years. The constant abuse, lies and rape attempts she had to endure don't leave much room for her initial innocent personality. The last bit of innocence crumbles away when her own aunt tries to kill her in a crazy fit because she thinks Sansa is attempting to seduce Petyr.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Inherited her mother's blue eyes, and naively believes the world works like a fairy tale. Needless to say, she subverts this trope by also being an example of Innocence Lost.
    Littlefinger: You have your mother's eyes. Honest eyes, and innocent. Blue as a sunlit sea. When you are a little older, many a man will drown in those eyes.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Lothor Brune, who once saves her from a wannabe-rapist. Later he is quick to call a nobleman who's insulted her 'the Arse', and she hugs him.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: As the series advances, Sansa comes to view the world in a cynical light, leading her to trust almost no one.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: After everything goes to hell in the first book, Sansa is kept hostage in King's Landing and other noble courts. Growing up, she'd excelled in traditionally ladylike things like people skills and needlework, which she learns to utilize while trying to keep her head.
    Joffrey frowned. Sansa felt that she ought to say something. What was it that Septa Mordane used to tell her? A lady's armor is courtesy, that was it. She donned her armor and said, "I'm sorry my lady mother took you captive, my lord."
  • Like Father, Like Son: She may look like her mother, but like Ned, Sansa is extremely idealistic and trusting, especially when it comes to authority figures. Her and her father's tendency to get swayed by their trust in the idealistic way they believe the world works bites them in the ass in A Game of Thrones and led to their imprisonment.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: She tends to fall for the exactly wrong types of men, who cannot or won't reciprocate her feelings:
  • Loose Lips:
    • Babbled to Cersei about Ned's plan to remove his family from the capital, leading to her becoming a hostage and Arya becoming a fugitive.
    • Prevented the Tyrells' plan to whisk her away to Highgarden by confiding in Ser Dontos, who was really a False Friend employed by Littlefinger.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • Sansa is implied to be losing her sense of identity. In A Feast for Crows, after assuming the identity of Alayne Stone, her chapters are titled "Alayne", she's called that by the narrative, and she thinks of Littlefinger as "her father".
      George R. R. Martin: Sansa may be dead as well. There's only Alayne Stone.
    • Subverted in the excerpt from Winds Of Winter, however, which suggests that she considers Sansa and Alayne two different people and sometimes habitually thinks as Sansa.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Her initial characterization has shades of this. Haughty and patronizing, she bullies her little sister, Arya, by calling her names, telling her she should have died, and belittling her appearance. But despite this, she does genuinely love her friends from Winterfell and family. From her perspective, her treatment of Arya is something she has a right to do, particularly since their primary instructor, Septa Mordane, encourages and compliments Sansa's skills while discouraging Arya's behavior. And on top of that, she is overwhelmingly naive and can be sweet.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: When Cersei tells her that the best way to ensure loyalty is through fear, Sansa silently disagrees because she had always been taught that love was the surest way to gain loyalty:
    If I am ever queen, I will make [the smallfolk] love me.
  • Maiden Name Debate: Following her marriage, she should be called "Sansa Lannister" but never actually is. No doubt, because many people are planning to either use the non-consumation to secure an annulment or waiting for Tyrion to die and leave her free for another marriage.
  • Make a Wish: Back in A Game of Thrones, Sansa wishes that some hero would throw Janos Slynt down and cut off his ugly head. Guess what her brother Jon, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, does in A Dance with Dragons when Slynt disobeys Jon's orders.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She is trying to learn how to play the game via lies and manipulation through Littlefinger's very weird tutelage.
  • Meaningful Rename: If you combine the names for ''Alayne'' and ''Stone'' you get the word alone. Probably a coincidence, but with a different pronunciation, Alayne sounds a lot like allein(e), the German word for alone.
  • Misery Builds Character: It's only after her father dies and Joffrey orders his men to beat her up on a regular basis that she becomes a kinder person and realizes she's going to marry a monster.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Sansa suffers for this repeatedly. In 'A Clash of Kings', Joffrey has her beaten for Robb's successes in the war. Later in 'A Storm of Swords', when Littlefinger forces a kiss on Sansa, Lysa blames her for pursuing him and attempts to murder her.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Played with. According to most of the Lannisters and the court, this was the reason Sansa conspired to kill Joffrey. As it turns out, they're wrong, as Sansa had nothing to do with it and was framed by the Tyrells to take the fall.
  • Morality Pet: Sansa is one of the few people Sandor Clegane seems to show a softer side to. Though he scares her, he also acts protective towards her and even regrets letting Joffrey rough her up for his twisted amusement.
  • Naïve Newcomer: King's Landing court is not the illustrious castle with knights in shining armor she thought it would be.
  • Named After Someone Famous: She shares her name after an ancestor.
  • Near-Rape Experience: During the Battle of the Blackwater, a very drunk Sandor Clegane comes into her room, forces her onto her bed, and holds a knife to her throat. He later admits he would have raped her, but he left after demanding a song from her. Ends with them both in tears. She is later almost raped by a bard in her aunt's employ.
  • Not so Above It All:
    • While Cersei chastises her for "being perfect", Sansa is very much hurt by the mistreatment she is subjected to. In fact, Cersei's annoyance stems from the fact that Sansa is seemingly taking everything so gracefully and she lowers her guard with the girl. According to Cersei and the Lannisters, this is what led Sansa to "kill Joffrey".
    • As noted in Beware the Quiet Ones, she almost pushed Joffrey from a height but was stopped by Sandor Clegane.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • She and Jon. Although they seem to be like the South and North siblings at the beginning, they have some things in common. As with the other Stark children, their initial desires are crushed. Jon aspires to become a ranger in the Night's Watch and Sansa dreams of going to the royal court and being betrothed to a prince. Both learn the reality of things rather quickly when they get to fulfill said aspirations. Both are also notably observant.
    • Sansa and Arya as well. Both start off as two somewhat spoiled girls with naive ideas about knights and how the world works. Both become much more jaded as the series progresses when they are placed in the real world.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: All the Stark children are wargs, though we haven't seen anything from Sansa yet, possibly because her direwolf, Lady, is one of the series' first casualties, and because she has little to no contact with animals after this.
  • Parental Substitute: Her cousin Robert (Sweetrobin) Arryn sees her as a mother figure, with Sansa being the only one besides his mother to whom he responds positively.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The moves she does make on her own usually fall into this category in a subtle form of the trope. She isn't in a position to actively fight against her enemies and abusers, so she is forced to use what seemingly benign weapons she does have (politeness, courtesy, and manners) to protect herself from abuse. She starts sharpening these skills on Joffrey out of necessity, and continues to improve.
  • The Pawn: She has been used to advance the plots of all of the people she has met by virtue of who she is and the social position she has, garnering no benefit for herself whatsoever. In King's Landing, she is even slowly losing social standing until she is cast aside as a harmless yes-girl. She does start to realize this, but she also laments the fact that no one has shown her sincere romantic affection in any way and no one has made the most minimal effort to make her happy, so she resorts to start imagining that The Hound kissed her.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Sansa spends a lot of time early on being pushed around by other characters, and she stands out as being reactive and passive while the other POVs are more proactive. Justified, though, in that she's a very sheltered preteen noble girl (so this trope is expected of her) unable to escape King's Landing like Arya. It doesn't help that most of her time in the capital is spent being physically and emotionally abused by her future in-laws.
  • Plucky Girl: She's growing into this, though not before becoming broken first.
  • Politeness Judo: One of her early lessons that come in handy even when held captive and surrounded by enemies is "courtesy is a lady's armor." She uses politeness and courteous phrases to protect herself from others.
  • Promotion to Parent: She takes care of her cousin Sweetrobin after Littlefinger sends Lysa flying through the Moon Door.
  • Proper Lady: Just like her mother, she is a great example of feminine grace and has impeccable social skills.
  • Puppet King: What the Lannisters and Tyrells mean for Sansa should they get their hands on Winterfell through her. Littlefinger now seems to be planning to make her a puppet queen, as he plans to use Sansa to unite the North, Vale, and Trident and possibly use their combined might to defeat the rest of Westeros.
  • Put on a Bus: She does not appear in the fifth book, but will return in the sixth.
  • The Resenter: Downplayed; in the first book her dialogue implies she's resentful of how indulged and adored Arya is, getting away with breaking their parents' rules, despite being horrible at traditionally ladylike things she is. In comparison, Sansa is much more celebrated in her docility, while Arya's hot-headedness is merely tolerated.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Littlefinger seems to have transferred his unrequited affections from Catelyn to Sansa, who strongly resembles her mother.
    • She herself is replaced by Margaery Tyrell as betrothed to Joffrey, as she loses political value for the Lannisters once the Starks are out of the way.
  • Resentful Outnumbered Sibling: She has a younger sister and four brothers, but feels very left out gender roles-wise because said sister is extremely tomboyish. She says she always wanted to have a sister like the classically feminine Margaery.
  • Right Handed Mirror: A trait that reinforces just how her sister Arya is her polar opposite.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: She actually isn't, but often has to outwardly pretend she is. Or, at the very least, be very convincingly unbothered. It drove both Cersei and Joffrey up the wall whenever it successfully blocked their snark in public.
  • Shameful Strip: Joffrey orders her to be stripped and beaten as petty revenge for Robb's victories. Tyrion intervenes before it gets too far, and calls out Joffrey for beating up a little girl.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: She was very sheltered growing up, and it shows. Like her sister and four brothers, Sansa has very little experience with the world outside of Winterfell until she leaves her home. What she has learned of the world, she has learned from songs, so naturally she's very naive. She is genuinely compassionate and gentle, her upbringing and immaturity at the start of the series can lead to her acting somewhat bratty and arrogant in the first book, especially towards Arya. She's also not very interested in commoners, when ideally, any young noble woman who aspires to be the queen should care about them to fulfill her noblesse oblige.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Grows into this, learning to utilize her courtly skills and Proper Lady manners to protect herself. "Courtesy is a lady's armor" indeed.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Poor Sansa's looks tend to get her the wrong kind of attention from men, which in turn may also result in murderous rage from jealous women. Interestingly, it's averted in her relationship with Cersei, who seems to appreciate Sansa's beauty and never goes paranoid over the possibility of Sansa being "the younger, more beautiful queen" who would threaten her.
  • The Social Expert: Sansa has nearly perfect manners, makes everyone feel at ease around her, and prides herself on always knowing what to say. Even Tyrion notes how well she does with people; this is one of the main reasons she is able to survive her ordeal with the Lannisters:
    She is good at this, he thought, as he watched her tell Lord Gyles that his cough was sounding better, compliment Elinor Tyrell on her gown, and question Jalabhar Xho about wedding customs in the Summer Isles. [...] Without his father beside him holding him up, [Lancel] would surely have collapsed. Yet when Sansa praised his valor and said how good it was to see him getting strong again, both Lancel and Ser Kevan beamed.
  • Stepford Smiler: To survive in Kings Landing after her father beheading, Sansa must smile politely and repeatedly assure everyone how much she loves Joffrey.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Played with. She's aware that there is really something wrong with Littlefinger's intentions towards her, but once in the guise of Alayne Stone, his bastard daughter under his protection, she tries very hard to ignore this and develop positive feelings towards him.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: She's supposedly the spitting image of her mother at the same age. Naturally, she resembles her aunt Lysa as well, which may be one of the reasons why Robert Arryn also views her as a mother figure and has a Precocious Crush on her.
  • Tantrum Throwing: She throws a tantrum when Ned informs her that he is sending her back to Winterfell and will end her betrothal without explaining why.
  • Team Mom:
    • After Cersei leaves the ballroom during the Battle of Blackwater, Sansa takes it upon herself to take care of the women and children left behind. She keeps them calm, leads them in song and prayer, and helps a wounded Lancel Lannister to a maester.
    • In A Feast for Crows, as she becomes the de facto Lady of the Eyrie after Lysa Arryn's death. She manages the household while Littlefinger is away and serves as Sweetrobin's primary caregiver. Subverted though, because this doesn't stop her from thinking about giving him a slap or two for getting on her nerves or unknowingly poisoning him with sweetsleep.
  • The Tease: Shows some shades of this in her The Winds of Winter preview chapter, employing her charms on Harrold Hardyng. Played with, in that she's being forced to do this by Littlefinger.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Is much better at embroidery than her tomboy sister Arya.
  • Thicker Than Water: Played with. Tyrion points out to Joffrey that Sansa's father might have been a traitor, but she still deserves to be mourning just like he should be mourning King Robert's death. Sansa halfway rebukes him by repeating that Ned was a traitor just as a mechanism for her own survival.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Joffrey is her Prince Charming who adores her and will give her beautiful babies with golden hair. She eventually grows out of it.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She plays the beautiful, princessy girly-girl part to Arya's tomboy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sansa loves lemon cakes. She even uses lemon perfume once when given the option.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In A Storm of Swords she still keeps the blood-splattered white Kingsguard cloak, which Sandor Clegane left to her before leaving King's Landing.
  • Trauma Conga Line: King's Landing was not kind to her.
  • Unreliable Narrator: She repeatedly remembers situations differently than they played out. When Joffrey abused the butcher's boy, the reader first gets the story accurately from her perspective, but later in the novel, Sansa has changed that event from Joffrey attacking Mycah to Mycah attacking Joffrey. In one of her POV chapters in A Storm of Swords, Sansa remembers Sandor kissing her the night of the siege in King's Landing, though that never happened. She actually sang a song for him.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: She and Sandor have a strange connection which has yet to be resolved.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Sooner than later, Joffrey becomes her unwanted fiance, even though she has to keep up the pretense of loving him in order to keep her head. Later, she and Tyrion become this to each other.
  • Unwitting Pawn: When Ned Stark is captured as a traitor, Sansa has to resort to the only authority figures she has available, meaning the Royal Court and the Queen, unbeknownst that poised her father as a traitor.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Her standard of "how good of a person someone is" is directly tied up in "how handsome/beautiful said person is" because of how she sees life like the songs and fairy tales. This begins to lessen during the course of the novels.
  • Virgin Tension: Much is made of the fact that Sansa's maidenhead is still intact—though it's less to do with her well-being and more with her value as a political pawn.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Due to her parents' overly sheltering her, she is too trusting at the beginning, believing Cersei wants what's best for her. Her Character Development has her grow out of this.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Had Sansa realized sooner that world wasn't like a fairytale, she would've gone through a bit less hardship. Then again, had she gone through less hardship, she wouldn't have realized that the world wasn't like a fairytale...
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: By book three, she's suffered through a Trauma Conga Line, but early in the book, Margaery and Olenna offer to marry her to Tyrell heir Willas—meaning she'd be able to get away from King's Landing and become Lady of Highgarden (one of the nicest places in Westeros), even if it is for her claim to Winterfell. It doesn't happen because when Tywin finds out, he forcibly marries her to his son Tyrion instead.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Robb believes that once the Lannisters get an heir to Winterfell out of her, they'll kill her.

    Arya Stark* 

Princess Arya Stark

Arya Horseface, Arya Underfoot, Arry, Lumpyface, Lumpyhead, Weasel, Nymeria, Nan, Squab, Salty, Cat of the Canals, Beth the Blind Girl, The ugly little girl, Mercedene, Mercy, the Night Wolf, Valiant Ned's precious little girl
"Fear cuts deeper than swords."

Eddard's free-spirited, nine-year-old tomboy daughter who doesn't fit the expectations of a highborn girl at all. She identifies with her brother Jon, a fellow outsider, with who she is very close, and enjoys the company of those from lower classes, such as servants and their children. When the war breaks out, Arya plunges into the wide world as she is forced to go on the run and becomes embroiled in a surprising number of violent adventures despite her tender age.

Her direwolf is Nymeria.

  • Accidental Hero: In The Winds of Winter, she kills Raff the Sweetling, inadvertently saving the life of Bobono the dwarf, whom Raff himself was planning to kill, thinking he was Tyrion and hoping to bring his head back to King's Landing for a lordship.
  • Action Survivor: Arya survives many dangerous and violent situation throughout her story despite not being physically strong or trained in arms. From the fourth book onward, she is progressing toward being an assassin.
  • Always Someone Better: Arya was envious of Sansa's beauty and talents, which would get Sansa far in Westeros's patriarchal society. Although Arya has her own talents (such as math, knowledge of the outdoors, fighting, and horseback riding) that help her survive disguised as a commoner, they aren't skills that are valued or acknowledged in a highborn girl.
  • Animal Eye Spy: During A Storm of Swords Arya begins to warg into her lost direwolf, Nymeria, while she is asleep. When she is briefly blinded in Braavos she realizes she can see through the eyes of a cat.
  • Animal Motif:
    • The first book has her chasing cats. In Braavos, she takes up the name of Cat of the Canals because there are many cats in Braavos and an additional one wouldn't make a difference. She ends up skinchanging into one while being temporarily blind.
    • She's also described as a "she-wolf" due to her aggressive nature and the sigil of her house. She repeatedly refers to herself as a wolf in addition to warging into Nymeria.
    • While she's taken prisoner and sent to Harrenhal, she compares herself to a sheep (because of her enforced passiveness in the face of the torture, rape and murder she witnesses) and a mouse (because she's too small and unimportant to notice in the vast castle). When she decides to escape she goes back to using wolf imagery to encourage herself.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Her older brothers adore her, but Sansa, with whom she shares The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, certainly sees her this way in the first book since Arya frequently gets away with not behaving like a noblewoman and can be a Jerkass when she's not pleased with Sansa.
  • Anti-Hero: She appears to be slowly getting darker as she takes levels in badass: she's a Pragmatic Hero in A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, who is continually forced into situations where she must kill in order to stay alive or to escape bad situations. In A Dance With Dragons, Arya is given her first job as an assassin.
  • Arranged Marriage: Is obliged to wed Elmar Frey, due to Robb's negotiations with the Late Lord Walder. Due to her own circumstances, she never actually finds out about this. The result is a humorous scene late in A Clash of Kings where she runs into her own former fiancé, while he is moping over the rift between Starks and Freys and the loss of his "princess."
    Arya: My brothers might be dead.
    Elmar: No one cares about a serving girl's brothers.
    Arya: I hope your princess dies!
  • Attempted Rape: Multiple characters along Arya's journey threaten her with rape, including a woman.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • With Sansa. Arya admits to herself at one point in the story that she wouldn't mind playing the "princess" and dressing to fit the part if it meant that she would be with Sansa again.
    • Also with her mother, Catelyn. While Arya is on the run, she sees a positive mother figure in Lady Smallwood during A Storm of Swords and more than anything, longs to get back to her mother. When she witnesses the Red Wedding, she is devastated by the thought that her mother died and goes through several stages of grief, finally coming to accept that her mother is gone when Nymeria finds and pulls Catelyn's naked corpse out of the river. Nymeria, who is a part of Arya, also is fiercely protective of Catelyn's corpse and only runs away when humans arrive. Arya also names herself after her mother when she arrives in Braavos and roams the streets as a fish merchant. Ironically, Arya fears (rightfully in Robb's case), that her mother wouldn't ransom her back, when Catelyn actually tries everything, even freeing Jaime, to get her beloved daughters back, and supports Arya being one of Robb's potential successors- despite her having been missing for months and Robb giving her up for dead.

  • Ax-Crazy: After the Red Wedding, she certainly qualifies with how utterly unhinged and bloodthirsty she becomes on her journey with Sandor, although ironically the strict training regime and moral code at the House of Black and White seems to be healing much of her psyche and taking her out of this trope.
  • Becoming the Mask: During Arya's journey she takes on different names and roles in order to survive. While she never loses who she is, Arya sometimes gets so deep into her new roles that she refers to them as different and independent entities. The Faceless Men try to bring this about deliberately as part of their training, in which their assassins think of themselves as "no one" and take on the personality (and face) of the person they're impersonating. Sure enough Arya starts to think of herself as Cat of the Canals, a Street Urchin in Braavos, but her 'wolf-dreams' (see Bond Creatures), her refusal to give up Needle, her usage of names that have a connection to her past note  and her execution of a Night's Watch deserter show that her original identity is still resisting.
  • Big Brother Worship: Adores her older half-brother Jon, whom she bonds with over being outsiders. To a lesser extent, Robb.
  • Black Sheep:
    • Although she is loved by her father, mother and brothers, she feels like this about her place in the Stark family and among the ladies at Winterfell due to her rebellious nature and desire to pursue unladylike pursuits. Her other siblings are comfortable in their roles or find an outlet for their skills, while Arya struggles with ladylike skills (embroidery, music, managing her appearance) and her genuine talents are overlooked or inappropriate for her position and gender (riding, sword fighting, math, and befriending the smallfolk). On top of that, she's subject to bullying by Sansa and Jeyne. Of all her siblings, she is closest with her brother Jon, who she identifies closely with—partly because they are both the only Stark children in the current generation to inherit the Stark look and partly because, though they are both loved by their family, they do not feel like they fully fit in.
    Her father had hunted boar in the wolfswood with Robb and Jon. Once he even took Bran, but never Arya, even though she was older. Septa Mordane said boar hunting was not for ladies, and Mother only promised that when she was older she might have her own hawk. She was older now, but if she had a hawk she’d eat it.
    • Interestingly Zig-Zagged in that while Arya feels like the Black Sheep of her true-born siblings, she is the only true-born Stark of her generation to inherit the Stark look and countenance. While her trueborn siblings embody the accepted characteristics and roles expected of them in Westeros society, spanning across all history and generations they are the true black sheep of the Stark line since they inherited the Tully looks and dispositions. The irony isn't lost on Arya that a Tomboy Princess like her and Heroic Bastard like Jon are the most "Stark-like" of their siblings, yet that doesn't make them feel any less like outcasts because they're different from the current generation of House Stark.
  • Bond Creatures: Like all the Starks, she has a potential to be a warg. It's theorized that the reason she's not doing well with her Faceless Man training is because part of her is still running around Westeros, in the form of Nymeria. In the fifth book, while blind, she begins to skinchange into cats during her dreams and twice while she is awake. In short, she's heading towards being a full-blown twoskin skinchanger with a bit more practice to learn control and the opportunity to settle on a specific feline to work with. Of her siblings, only Bran shows this flexibility in skill, and although he trumps her in how flexible he is, he has had training while Arya hasn't.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Arya is a petite child with only a little training in combat, so she is easily physically outmatched by those around her. Being highborn, she is outspoken and thus has to force herself to stay quiet and calm during dangerous moments.
  • Break the Cutie: Arya's Plucky Girl nature tends to obscure the fact that she's living with a massive amount of trauma, grief and anger (enough to frighten an old wood-witch she encounters in A Storm of Swords) that's only shown through her desire to murder the people who have gotten away with various crimes.
  • Broken Bird: Poor Arya's gone from spirited tomboy to a damaged child who has learned to kill as a means of survival and has only been able to find a safe place to live among assassins.
  • Cassandra Truth: Happens twice in A Clash of Kings.
    • When traveling northward with Yoren and the Night's Watch recruits, Arya alone doesn't want to spend the night in an abandoned village because she rightly guesses that the villagers fled for a reason. Everyone dismisses her as craven, then Lannister knights come to raid the village and attack and kill most of their party, including Yoren.
    • While recouping with other surviving recruits, Arya insists on scoping out a village alone because she's quieter than the others and less likely to get caught if there are more brutal knights there. Gendry "the Bull" insists on following her, and sure enough, he gets caught. Hot Pie then insists on accompanying Arya to rescue Gendry, and then he's promptly caught and gives Arya's position away, leaving them all at the mercy of Gregor's men.
  • Catchphrase: Bordering on a Verbal Tic, she frequently calls things and people "stupid" or "you stupid".
  • Character Tics: Chewing on her lip (like Cat and Robb when were younger). The Faceless Men train her out of it since it's an idiosyncrasy of Arya Stark.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: She constantly refers back to Syrio's lessons throughout her ordeals, though they only sometimes help her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The iron coin which Jaqen H'ghar gives her, which isn't just a keepsake. It secures her passage to Braavos.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The first thing Jon teaches her about sword fighting is, "Stick them with the pointy end." When it finally comes down to defending her life, Arya panics so much that that's the only thing she manages to remember, but it works.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Her impulsive nature and fierce sense of justice means she's quick to defend the more vulnerable and champion the smallfolk. Given this is Westeros, her efforts don't always turn out well (such as when she attacks Joffrey to protect her friend Mycah) but there are occasions when they pay off, in particular when she gets Jaqen's help for saving his life.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Getting away from King's Landing leaves her stranded in a war-torn land where people look to take advantage of her or kill her. After she gets captured by Gregor Clegane's men she begins developing a nonchalant attitude toward killing. She later enters the assassin's guild known as the "Faceless Men".
  • Color Motif: Gray. Gray is the color of her eyes, gray is the city she found some peace in, gray is what she describes herself. Gray is also of House Stark's main colors.
  • Creepy Child: Starts veering toward this when she begins training to be a Faceless Man, as she becomes increasingly cavalier about killing and death. Plus there's the fact that she is rapidly closing in on a double-digit kill count and isn't even a teenager yet.
  • Daddy's Girl: She had a very close bond with Ned. Possibly due to her Strong Family Resemblance and general shared traits with his late sister.
  • Dance Battler: Arya's water dancing, which was in the rhythmic, dance-like Braavosi style.
  • Dead Guy Junior: She is named after her father's grandmother Arya Flint.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Action Girl: She received a few months of water dancer training with the former First Sword of Braavos and uses those skills throughout her journey. However, she can only reliably beat other children with it and has to rely on manipulation and subtlety when facing adults.
    • Kid Hero: Arya is a more subtle deconstruction of the kid hero, as she is one of the child protagonists of the series, has a high sense of justice, she takes on opponents larger and more skilled than herself, and has been able to repeatedly outsmart adults. However, the villains she wants to kill believe she is dead and are unaware of her true identity.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Has more than one kill under her belt using this approach.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: She spends a lot of her time barefoot, one of her two childhood nicknames was even 'Arya Underfoot' to signify how she is always barefoot. The books say "she liked to feel the earth underfoot when she walked." Given she can warg into other animals and her wild nature, she is an Earthy Barefoot Character.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Despite being the daughter of a high lord, she dislikes being called "milady" or "my lady."
    • Due to her garb and unkempt appearance, she is initially confused with a boy and has to point out that she isn't; later, she has to get used to it by force.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: The kindly man refers to her "sad gray eyes that have seen so much".
  • Evil Mentor: You know your life's in the gutter when your only two mentors of recent memory are Sandor Clegane and a face-shifting assassin.
  • Fille Fatale: In The Winds of Winter, Arya seduces Raff The Sweetling, gets him in her room and then kills him the same way he killed Lommy.
  • Flower Motifs: Arya is fond of flowers; she collects them for her father and later counts them on their way to King's Landing.
  • Foil: Her sister Sansa was created as her foil. Despite being as different as night and day, their quests become increasingly parallel as fallen princesses who shed their initial idealism and sense of identity in order to survive.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Arya goes out of her way to defy this trope. Whether they were highborn or low, no matter how much or how little time they spent together, she will never forget the memory of anyone she considers a friend. And if they die, she will avenge their death, no matter how long it takes her. She refuses Sandor the gift of Mercy for killing Mycah the butcher's boy, and kills Raff the Sweetling in the exact same way he killed Lommy Greenhands.
  • Free-Range Children: Deconstructed. Arya's chapters are full of graphic depictions of the hardships of being homeless in an epic fantasy world.
  • Generation Xerox: Her similarity to her aunt Lyanna in both appearance and temperament is frequently noted. A scene Bran witnesses from the past even shows Lyanna calling Benjen "stupid" when they were children, which Arya frequently calls people, and he initially mistakes Lyanna for Arya.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Arya and Sansa have a strained relationship due to their vastly different personalities and the way adults pit them against each other. This leads to Sansa bullying Arya with her friends and Arya spurning Sansa's company in favor of others.
  • Good with Numbers: Arya is noted to be better at math than her older sister.
  • Guile Hero: Arya relies on her intelligence and cunning to survive after being forced into hiding among the common folk. It especially becomes handy after she joins up with the Faceless Men.
  • Hates Baths: While staying at a noblewoman's castle Arya is forced to bathe and wear a dress. Gendry sees her and bursts out laughing, so Arya picks a fight with him to get back to her usual messy self.
  • Heroic BSoD: After the Red Wedding, she goes into a catatonic state, even passing up the chance to murder Sandor in his sleep, which she had been trying to do repeatedly beforehand.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Miraculously averted despite it being her family's Fatal Flaw early on and all her older family members—sans Jon—falling prey to it. While Ned, Catelyn, Robb, and Sansa put faith in the wrong people,leading to catastrophic consequences for themnote , Arya has survived on her instincts alone for most of the series. She dislikes the Lannisters from the get-go and is very savvy while on the run in a brutally war-torn Westeros. The few people she does choose to trust, such as Gendry, usually turn out to be good calls.]]
  • Hot-Blooded: Her father says she has "the wolf blood", like her aunt Lyanna. Or like Catelyn.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: She is both sad and angry at Yoren for dying because he had promised to take her home to Winterfell. She has a similar reaction in A Game of Thrones during the purge of the Stark household when she finds the dead body of the household guard Desmond, who promised her that every Northman was worth ten Southron swords, yet he and several others died while only taking one Lannister guard down with them.
  • Hyper-Awareness: She is very observant at the start of the series, but her training focuses on heightening that ability.
    • Much earlier in A Game of Thrones, she managed to not fall for a Lannister trap, when a ship supposedly to take her home was surrounded by Lannister men in Stark clothes. She just changed her way noticing this.
    • She is the only character to figure out there was something off about Roose Bolton, a mistake that cost her mother, and her brother their lives.
    • She is able to see there are good among bad too, such as she understood Shitmouth was not a cruel man, albeit him being part of the Mountain's Men, a gang known for raping, pillaging, burning.
    • In Harrenhal she was able to pick up what everyone was doing, at what place, and at what time.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the kindly man tells her she's too proud for the Loss of Identity required by a Faceless Man, Arya says she can be more humble than anyone.
  • I Call It "Vera": Her sword Needle. It was Jon's gift to her.
  • Icy Gray Eyes: Along with Jon, she is the only one of Ned's children to inherit his gray eyes, which is fitting since she grows much colder and more anti-heroic than the rest of her siblings.
  • I Have Many Names: She takes on a number of identities to survive: Arry, an orphan boy; Weasel, servant at Harrenhal; Nymeria/Nan, cupbearer to Roose Bolton; Salty, when aboard the Titan's Daughter on her way to Braavos; Cat of the Canals, an orphan from King's Landing whose father was killed by a bravo; Beth, a blind beggar girl. As an acolyte of the Faceless Men, this number can be expected to rise dramatically.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Mycah's death is only the first of many deaths Arya would blame on herself.
  • I Miss Mom: Said directly and indirectly, it's clear that despite the constant criticism from her mother about her looks and feeling a bit like the family's Black Sheep, Arya deeply misses Catelyn. When Arya and the Brotherhood without Banners arrive at Acorn Hall, she doesn't mind being treated like a child by Lady Smallwood and is unusually polite towards her, not shunning the ladylike clothes she is given and genuinely feeling sorry after tearing the dress. Arya later wonders if she could have stayed with Lady Smallwood after going back to her mother becomes impossible. When Arya is asked to take a new name and wander the streets of Braavos as a merchant, she wishes to name herself "Cat", her mother's nickname.
  • I'm Not Pretty: She is surprised when people compare her to her beautiful Aunt Lyanna. Justified as she grew up being compared to her more traditionally beautiful older sister as well as consistently being referred to as "Arya Horseface" and the like. It's implied that while Sansa is the "born beautiful" type, Arya herself is more of the "growing into her beauty" type.
  • Innocence Lost: Arya went from spirited tomboy princess to disillusioned killer in the course of only a couple of years.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her family's household staff referred to her as Arya Underfoot. Sansa and Jeyne called her Arya Horseface. Sandor Clegane refers to her as she-wolf.
  • It Gets Easier: The first time she is forced to kill somebody, she's genuinely horrified. After her experience with battle, her time in Harrenhall, and the work of Jaqen H'Ghar, killing comes naturally to her.
  • It's All My Fault: Believes Sansa and Jeyne's accusations that Mycah and Lady's deaths were all her fault after the Trident incident, despite being the only person in the whole mess to try and save Mycah and going to the effort to defend Lady, even after Sansa refused to corroborate her story about what happened.
  • It's Personal: Like her mother, Arya plays this trope so straight that it's her main obstacle as a novice of the Faceless Men. She takes justice very personally, but they aren't judges; they're tools who aren't allowed to take contracts on people they know and don't care whether the victims are good or evil.
  • It Was a Gift: When the Faceless Men tell Arya she must give up all her possessions, Needle is the one gift she is unable to throw away, so she hides it instead.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: When Arya, Cat of the Canals, encounters a deserter from the Night's Watch, she leads him into a dark alley and cuts his throat, following the traditions of her culture's executions of deserters. Her trainer in the Guild of the Faceless Men is trying to break her out of this habit, telling her that their order is made up solely of executioners, and their god is judge and jury.
  • Junior Counterpart: To her late aunt Lyanna; Ned notes they share everything from appearance to personality and interests.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: She was often mistaken for being a boy. She uses this to her advantage after the second book when she travels among the commoners.
  • Left-Handed Mirror: The trait emphasizes how different she is from her sister.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: After everything goes to hell in the first book, Arya ends up roaming through the countrysides. Her rebellious instincts and rudimentary combat training end up keeping her alive.
  • Like Father, Like Son: In sharp contrast to Sansa, who looks like her mother but shares more traits with her father, Arya looks like a Stark, and while the hot-bloodedness could stem from the Stark's "wolf blood" like with her Uncle Brandon and her Aunt Lyanna, it could come from Catelyn as well. Neither of them truly accept Westerosi gender expectations of their social statuses to be passive ladies and both are passionate and devoted to their loved ones. Both Arya and Catelyn are also hell-bent on revenge and kill everyone that wronged them.
  • Little Miss Badass: Deconstructed. Though a child, Arya has been able to survive in horrific conditions and even defend herself against enemies on occasion.
  • Lonely Together: In the Riverlands, she considers proposing Gendry to become a family together; it never becomes more than a thought.
  • Loss of Identity: This is part of what she needs to accomplish to become a Faceless Man assassin. Though she continues to insist that she is no one, her refusal to give up Needle, a symbol of her connection with her family and home, and her ever-growing ability to warg, prove that her identity is still intact.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Arya has gradually become more misanthropic with the course of the story, as she has found that every person that she seems to place her trust into meets either a tragic fate or finds his/herself led astray, making these people unable to keep their promises with Arya. Slowly, Arya is shown to be eroding from all her preconceived notions about the people she meets and the value of their lives.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • Her mantra doesn't necessarily show insanity, but her constant repetition in her head of people she wants dead is rather unnerving for a girl who hasn't hit puberty yet.
    • Her repeating the Tickler's interrogation questions while stabbing him over and over again.
      Arya: Is there gold hidden in the village? Is there silver, gems? Is there food? Where is Lord Beric? Where did he go? How many men were with him? How many knights, how many bowmen? How many, how many, how many, how many, how many, how many? IS THERE GOLD IN THE VILLAGE?
  • Magnetic Hero: Despite being the outcast among the few young girls in Winterfell for not fitting in, Arya is depicted as a popular character who develops friendships easily and with a variety of different sorts of people regardless of social status. This continues even as she takes on other identities with the Faceless Men.
    [Sansa's narration] Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth. Arya would make friends with anybody.
  • Messy Hair: Her hair is described as always looking like "as though a bird had been nesting in it."
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Between older siblings Robb and Sansa, who easily fit into the gender norms of future Lord of Winterfell and highborn lady respectively, and youngest children Bran and Rickon, who are young enough that her mother dotes on them, tomboyish Arya always felt out of place. This is only helped by the fact that she's the only one with the classic Stark look, which is part of why she is closest to fellow misfit Jon Snow. It's suggested that this trope is the reason she acts out sometimes, especially in the first book.
  • Morality Pet: Sandor Clegane shows a softer side with her as well as with her sister Sansa. Though he's not very nice to Arya (who also hates him), he keeps her from harm and even teaches her "the gift of mercy".
  • Motifs:
    • The water motif is the most prominent element in her chapters: She loves water, fights as a 'water dancer,' "calm as still water" is a frequent refrain of hers, she repeatedly gives water to those in need, and spends most of the series either in the Riverlands or Braavos, the city of canals. Water also represents change and adaptation, which Arya does a lot and the motif mirrors her father's "Ice" motif—but while Ned couldn't adapt in the South, Arya's flexibility allows her to survive.
    • Bastards are a common theme running through her journey. Her favorite person is her illegitimate half-brother Jon, both she and Sansa thought she was a bastard when they were younger, her closest friend while travelling is Robert's Heroic Bastard son Gendry, she later goes to Braavos known as the "bastard daughter" of Valyria and at the same time the girl everyone believes is Arya has been married off to Bastard Bastard Ramsay.
    • Soil and trees. She's guided by the old gods in the Godswood, stays with the Brotherhood in the forest, refers to herself as looking like an oak tree to Gendry and the song 'the maiden of the tree' is sung in reference to her and spends much of the series surviving living in rough in the woods.
  • Naïve Newcomer: While she was never as naive or overly-trusting as Sansa, Arya was completely unaware of how cruel and cold the world could really be. She didn't understand the consequences of striking a prince (even in defense of an innocent person) or acting out in public. There are hints that she believed some of the things in songs as well (again, though not to the same extent as Sansa); for example, she initially believed in the Knight in Shining Armor ideal too and thought if she could reveal herself to Lady Whent, Lady Whent would take care of her (as opposed to assuming she was just a lying commoner).
  • Named Weapons: When Jon has a sword made for her, she names it Needle, in reference to its small, slender size and her own hatred of actual needlework.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Joffrey was already an Ax-Crazy Bastard, but after his confrontation with Arya ended with Nymeria mauling him, he made it a point to take out all of his indignation from the ordeal onto Sansa.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Something her father taught her, which makes the deaths of their servants and guards hard on her. Arya forms close bonds with the smallfolk and is stated to make friends from all types of backgrounds, which is noteworthy to point out in such a classist feudalist society as Westeros is.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Arya and Sansa are considered as different as day and night by their father but they suffer similar ordeals. They both have had to assess friends and enemies in order to survive, have made mistakes in trusting formerly honorable knights, and are being manipulated into being pawns to be controlled by men with great authority.
    • She has some traits actually more reminiscent of Catelyn than Ned's. Mother and daughter are shown to be both more emotional and violent in their thoughts and actions than, for example, Sansa or Ned. They are both more practical and cynical about the people who surround them, which Ned and Sansa (at first) are not. Both Arya and Catelyn are strongly concerned with justice, but said justice often converges in desire of vengeance. Catelyn's new identity as Lady Stoneheart takes this up a notch, as she has executed anyone she believes was involved with the Red Wedding, not unlike her daughter's revenge list of people who hurt her and her family, and they are both very unlike to forgive them, no matter what their reasons are.
  • Omniglot: In Braavos, she starts learning many different languages under the tutelage of the Faceless Men, including Braavosi, Pentoshi, Lysene, High Valyrian, and the trade talk of sailors. Currently, her Braavosi is at a passable level, though she could still use some practice.
  • One of the Boys: Engaged in horseback riding and swordplay with her brothers, and was closest to Jon, much to her septa's dismay.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Arya can warg into her direwolf, Nymeria, taking over her body and joining her thoughts.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: She practices swordplay and is excellent at horseback riding.
  • Past-Life Memories: When she dons the face of an ugly little girl in the House of Black and White, she gets a brief flashback of being beaten by the girl's abusive father, and is warned that she may have bad dreams for a time.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Like her father, Jon and (strangely enough) her mother, Arya has a very strong sense of right and wrong which she takes very personally. But, that doesn't mean she won't do wrong to pay wrong: oh, she will. If she can get away with it. The Faceless Men are trying to get her to shake this habit. With less-than-fantastic success. This is one Northern tradition she upholds to the hilt.
  • Plucky Girl: She is brave and persistent in achieving her goals which include becoming water dancer, reuniting with Jon, and killing those who have harmed her family and friends.
  • Princess in Rags: After she leaves the Red Keep, she's a ragged child whose most valuable possession is Needle and is forced to steal to survive.
  • Professional Killer: In training to become a member of the assassins' guild known as the Faceless Men, and first assassinates someone at the end of the fifth book.
  • Progressively Prettier: Implied, though Arya is oblivious to it. She starts the series out being called "Arya Horseface" by Sansa and Jeyne. When she's bathed and put in a dress at Acorn Hall, Gendry says she looks "nice" and Lady Smallwood calls her pretty. When she walks down the streets of Braavos, she notes that men call out to her; she doesn't realize why they're doing it, but they're mostly likely cat-calling her.
  • Properly Paranoid: Arya is the only Stark who didn't trust the Lannisters period, and bluntly tells Sansa that she's a liar for supporting Joffrey about what happened with Mycah. As Ned and Sansa find out, she accurately measured Cersei and Joffrey's character when Ned is executed and Sansa is held hostage.
  • Rebellious Spirit: She has no patience for sewing and would much rather be swordfighting, riding horses or shooting arrows. Her mother Catelyn comments that she's "always been harder to tame".
  • Replacement Goldfish: It's implied that the reason Ned indulged in her Tomboyish traits (see the appointment of a private fencing tutor), is because he wants to see his little sister Lyanna again through Arya, without reliving the memories from Robert's Rebellion. But, as described above, Ned expects her to grow out of this rebellious phase, so it's a bit downplayed.
  • The Resenter: Downplayed; in the first book, she resents Sansa for being so effortlessly good at most of the skills required by their culture while Arya, despite all her efforts, can't catch up. Justified as Arya was bullied and called names while growing up at Winterfell, recalling that she was referred to as "Arya horseface" by her sister and her friends with Jeyne neighing at her whenever she entered the room. In addition, Arya's skills and behavior are not celebrated as Sansa's are because Sansa's skills, aspirations, and mannerisms fall within what is acceptable for feminine ladies in Westeros while Arya's do not.
  • Sanity Slippage: She starts off as a rambunctious, but naive and sensible tomboy. The more and more horrible things that happen to her, the more she loses both her moral compass and her grip on reality, to the point that in the third book, even Sandor Clegane seems to be unnerved by how unhinged Arya has become.
  • She-Fu: Eddard sees her Tomboyish ways and decides she should be trained in the more "elegant" Braavosi fencing style.
  • Shipper on Deck: For her parents. To the point that she outright rejects Edric Dayne's suggestion that Ned fell in love with Ashara Dayne at Harrenhal and then tries to run away from the Brotherhood because of it.
  • Ship Tease: Of the Puppy Love variety with Gendry. They grow very close while traveling together and there are hints of more romantic feelings as time goes on, particularly during their stay at Acorn Hall.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: While taking on other roles, Arya learns to utilize this trope, pretending to be meek and weaponizing her femininity to gain the advantage with her enemies. For instance, in The Winds of Winter, she takes on the role of The Ingenue with Raff The Sweetling, pretending she has been offered by her employer for his sexual use and then pulls a Chastity Dagger from her sleeve to turn him into a colander when alone in a room with him. With no witnesses. What a pity. Even while disguised as a ragged child, she knew to keep quiet and obey orders in Harrenhal to avoid being maimed or worse.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sansa is a feminine, lady-like, proper and beautiful, while Arya is a disheveled tomboy who doesn't have the looks and she thinks ladies have a boring life.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Arya overhears some important conversations through her travels (though she often fails to understand their significance), and starts snooping in earnest as part of her training with the Faceless Men.
  • Southpaw Advantage: When Arya's dominant hand is revealed to her fencing master, he reacts favorably because fighting left-handed will reverse her stance and movements, which will help confuse her opponents.
  • Spanner in the Works: Her running away from the Red Keep when her father is arrested ends up disturbing the plans that both the North and the Lannisters have for the war. Cersei and the others have to lie that Arya is being held hostage along with Sansa, so that the North doesn't completely obliterate the capital; later they have to fake a marriage with one of Sansa's friends to give the Boltons control of the north, forcing Jeyne Pool to impersonate Arya on the threat of death. If she ever made it to Robb or Jon alive, they would know she's no longer a hostage and that the Boltons have no hold over the kingdom. Meanwhile, the war would have gone very differently if Catelyn hadn't freed Jaime for a hostage exchange to get her girls back. The irony is that the Hound was going to deliver Arya to Catelyn in exchange for money.
  • Stepford Smiler: In The Winds of Winter, she takes on the identity of "Mercy", a cheerful, hard-working mummer girl. Of course it's just an act, and underneath her, Arya's lust for revenge is as strong as ever. As Raff the Sweetling finds out the hard way. Hello, Honey Trap.
  • Street Smart: Arya's resourcefulness and quick thinking enable her to survive alone in the slums of King's Landing for a time, and she later hones that ability even more during her training in Braavos.
  • Street Urchin: Again, during her time in King's Landing, she sleeps in the streets and survives by catching pigeons.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: To her aunt Lyanna, inheriting her Unkempt Beauty looks, Hot-Blooded temperament, love of horses, and skill with swords.
  • Survival Mantra: Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: She disguised herself as a boy more than once to keep her true identity hidden. Even after giving up the disguise, she is still often mistaken for a boy because of her short hair, male clothing, and un-girlish bearing.
  • Switched at Birth: At one point Sansa began to speculate Arya really was a snark or grumkin child who had swapped with the real daughter.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Plenty of this due to her Hot-Blooded nature, but it takes on a disturbing edge after all the atrocities she witnesses. After the Red Wedding when a child her age shows Arya her soldier doll, she responds by ripping its stuffing out and throwing it in the river so it will really look like a soldier.
  • Temporary Blindness: Part of her Training from Hell with the Faceless Men is this; she's blinded for a while so her other skills can strengthen without the aid of sight. Afterwards, it's temporary deafness, and so on.
  • Tomboy: Arya isn't one for needlework or pretty dresses, instead preferring swordplay and horseback riding.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: While Sansa prefers to think of the world as a song where she is the beautiful princess destined to marry the king, Arya is a quick-thinking tomboy that would rather be learning swordplay and riding horses.
  • Tomboy Angst: Arya feels rather insecure about the fact that she isn't good at traditionally feminine activities, like sewing or playing music. It doesn't help that she gets overshadowed by Sansa, who fits the typical princess role perfectly. She was bullied a lot in her home for not fitting well in the traditional lady role, so that probably led to a lot of insecurities about her self-worth and beauty. Truth in Television.
  • Tomboy Princess: Her lack of skill in and aversion toward anything ladylike give Septa Mordane and her sister endless pain, but her father doesn't seem to mind his daughter's tomboy-ish attitude, likely because it reminds him of his sister.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Arya loves flowers, wears her heart on her sleeve for much of the series, and resents that Sansa gets to sit with the "tall, handsome" prince while Arya gets stuck sitting with his chubby little brother, and is developing Silk Hiding Steel skills.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Far from home, Needle is the only thing left to remind her of her family. Even when she has to give up everything else to become a Faceless Man, it is the one thing she cannot bear to part with.
    "It's just a stupid sword," she said, aloud this time...but it wasn't. Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile.
  • Training from Hell: Her instructors at the House of Black and White are benevolent enough, but the training itself is extreme. It involves being temporarily blinded to learn to manage and fight without seeing. Next in line is being made deaf, and then being crippled.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: And how! She's learned to manipulate, con, and kill, and has now joined a guild of assassins, all before reaching puberty. Justified, since she otherwise would most definitely have been killed by now.
  • True Companions: Despite their class difference, she becomes this with Gendry and Hot Pie, taking them into her "pack" and admits they're the only friends she has, even considering offering to be their family.
  • The Un-Favourite: Perceives herself to be this for Catelyn, to the point of thinking her mother wouldn't want her back—leaving her as a child refugee in war-torn Westeros—because she isn't ladylike or pretty like Sansa. From Catelyn's end, while her perspective makes it clear she does love Arya a lot, it's also obvious Arya's belief that her mother prefers Sansa is justified.
    And her lady mother, what would she say? Would she still want her back, after all the things she'd done? Arya chewed her lip and wondered. "Well, my hair's messy and my nails are dirty and my feet are all hard." Robb wouldn't care about that, probably, but her mother would. Lady Catelyn always wanted her to be like Sansa, to sing and dance and sew and mind her courtesies.

    [Catelyn's narration] Sansa was a lady at three, always so courteous and eager to please. Men would say she had my look, but she will grow into a woman far more beautiful than I ever was... And Arya, well, Arya was a trial, it must be said. Half a boy and half a wolf pup.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Dancing" and "needlework" for her less-than-ladylike sword training.
  • Waif-Fu: Deconstructed. Her father arranges for Arya to be trained in the water-dancing style well suited to her small frame and slim blade, but she still lacks the size and strength to take on adult male soldiers. Her most effective kills involve using cunning and deception to take her target unawares.
  • Wild Card: As of the second book onward, particularly after Yoren is killed, and with him dies her plan to reach Winterfell.
  • Wild Child: Arya is known for her wild spirit which Ned refers to as "wolf blood."
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: An increasingly dark example, given the hell she witnesses but she demonstrates this as early as the first book. After the Trident incident when Cersei and Joffrey have Lady and Mycah killed, Arya—all of nine years old—is the only one present who realizes how Obviously Evil the pair are and is wary of them (the fact she cares about the smallfolk and takes the death of a mere butcher's boy so seriously, while other nobles dismiss it, helps).
  • You Remind Me of X: Several characters note the resemblance between her and Lyanna, specifically her skill in horse-riding, her interest in swordplay, her fiery temper and her increasing beauty.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Sansa tells Arya that she wishes Arya had died instead of Lady.

    Bran Stark* 

Prince Brandon Stark, the Prince of Winterfell

Bran, Bran the Broken, The Winged Wolf
"A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. A greenseer."

Eddard Stark's kind and gentle eight-year-old son who dreams of being a knight and loves to climb and explore, until Jaime Lannister pushes him out a window and he becomes crippled from the fall. While in a coma, he has a dream of a three-eyed crow that gives him prophetic visions as well as magical abilities to take control of his pet wolf, Summer.

  • Action Survivor: Bran survives several violent and dangerous situations throughout his journey.
  • Addictive Magic: He spends more and more time warging into Summer and Hodor because he enjoys being able to move around freely through them. Jojen is very concerned about him doing this too much and warns that it is dangerous, but Bran does not care much since he loves how it feels to walk again.
  • Amnesia Danger: If Bran remembered why and who pushed him out the window and into a coma, he could have easily revealed the secret Ned tries to uncover for most of the first book.
  • Animal Eye Spy: His main ability allows him to see through Summer's eyes, but it also includes humans, though so far he has only used one. Although, he picks up ravens and trees.
  • Animal Motifs: In addition to the Stark wolf imagery he's closely associated with ravens and crows. Both birds often appear around him, he dreams of the three-eyed crow, and he learns to skinchange into ravens. Adding to the effect, "fly" is an Arc Word in his storyline and Jojen describes him as a winged wolf.
  • The Beastmaster: As of A Dance with Dragons, he directly controls one direwolf, and through his direwolf indirectly controls a pack consisting of three other wolves. He can skinchange into and control ravens. And, he can control Hodor—who is not a "beast" in the typical sense. He can also do weirwood trees... which is stretching the concept considerably further.
  • Body Snatcher: He takes over Hodor's body at times when they're in danger, since Bran is crippled and Hodor's limited mental capacity prevents him from being as effective as he could.
  • Bond Creatures: Bran and Summer are one of the most closely bonded direwolf-child pair, along with Jon and Ghost... and the closer Rickon-and-Shaggydog. After a while, Bran even prefers spending time in Summer's body, since the wolf is strong and free to explore unlike Bran.
  • Cheerful Child: Before being crippled he was sweet, happy, energetic little boy who loved exploring Winterfell.
  • Child Mage: As of A Dance With Dragons he's no older than nine, but he is an extremely powerful skinchanger and is learning to be a greenseer. Deconstructed because he lacks the maturity to understand the significance of his powers. Nor does he understand that taking over Hodor's body is traumatizing to him, and thinks it's just harmless fun.
  • Convenient Coma: Bran finds out about Jaime and Cersei's adultery, and promptly (with a little help from Jaime) goes into a prolonged coma, waking with Laser-Guided Amnesia about the whole thing. All this prevents him from telling Ned, who spends the rest of the book trying to dig up the very same secret.
  • The Cutie: Catelyn considers him her "special child" and thinks he is the sweetest one of his siblings. His behavior backs this up, as he lacks even the spoiled side some others display.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after his late uncle.
  • Destination Defenestration: In the beginning of A Game of Thrones, he was thrown out of a tower by Jaime Lannister, whom he saw having sex with his sister. Bran went into a coma and woke up crippled for life.
  • Disability Superpower: After his fall, Bran is visited by the three-eyed crow during his coma. This propels the magical side of his story. He quickly learns to use his warg abilities after losing the use of his legs.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: His dream of becoming a knight is cut short because of his crippled legs.
  • Dreams of Flying: He often has these dreams, most notably during his coma following the fall that made him paraplegic.
  • Faking the Dead: After the fall of Winterfell at the end of the second book, Bran lets the rest of the world think Theon really did kill him, as he's far safer traveling as a dead boy rather than a living Stark.
  • Garfunkel: He's clearly being set up for something big, but in the first two books, his POV chapters primarily show what happens at Winterfell after Ned, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Robb and Catelyn leave.
  • The Heart: Of the Starks. While there are tensions within the family (notably between Arya/Sansa and issues around Jon's bastardy), he has a close and positive relationship with everyone, Catelyn calls him the sweetest of her children, and Ned believes his kind nature can help build relationships with the royal family.
    Ned: "Bran can bridge that distance. He is a sweet boy, quick to laugh, easy to love."
  • Handicapped Badass: Though he has lost the use of his legs, Bran is an extremely powerful warg.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason he's been crippled is because he accidentally stumbled upon the queen's adultery with her own brother, who saw fit to push Bran out the window to shut his mouth.
  • History Repeats: He is the Stark at Winterfell while his elder brother Robb warred in the South during the War of the Five Kings; his uncle Benjen was the Stark at Winterfell while his older brother Eddard warred in the South during Robert's Rebellion.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: He slowly learns to handle his skinchanging ability (taking over his wolf's mind) after he is crippled.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Played with. He doesn't knowingly eat people with his own mouth, but hunts them down through his wolf (well, their undead corpses anyway) and devours them. He doesn't mind the taste. The steaks Coldhands brings him are almost certainty taken from the Night Watch deserters, meaning he's eaten them .
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Similar to Sansa, Bran inherited the Tully blue eyes. He starts out one of the most innocent and idealistic characters; his Break the Cutie is just a lot less drawn-out.
  • Irony: Bran wanted to be a knight, which would require him to convert to the Faith of the Seven. He instead becomes a conduit for the power of the Old Gods.
  • Kid Hero: Wanted to be a knight before he was crippled. Now he has greenseer and skinchanging powers, which may not be so harmless.
  • Meaningful Name: Brân is Welsh for raven.
  • Mister Exposition: He is the reader's main source for the history of the North due to Maester Luwin's teachings.
  • Named After the Injury: Bran Stark starts calling himself Bran the Broken after a fall from the tower renders him unable to walk.
  • Name's the Same: His full name (Brandon) was shared by a number of his ancestors, including a couple of legendary figures in the history of Westeros and his deceased uncle. In-universe, it's not particularly notable, as it seems to be a custom of House Stark to have a Brandon every generation. The important ones tend to have epithets: Bran the Builder, Bran the Shipwright, Bran the Burner (destroyed the aforementioned fleet at anchor after his father died at sea), Bran the Daughterless... and now, at least in his own mind, Bran the Broken.
  • Nice Guy: Setting aside ethical issues with his powers that he's not old enough to fully understand, Bran is consistently one of the most compassionate and good-hearted characters in the setting, as well as being one of the only members of a Great House in the series to show absolutely no signs of elitism, treating the servants of the household exactly the same as he would the highborn.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He has Intergenerational Friendships with many members of the Stark household. During the feast at Winterfell, he sends a dish of lobster to Joseth the master of horse, and sweets to Hodor and Old Nan.
  • Nobody Poops: For a series that usually has no hesitation about detailing the less dignified aspects of life, the sanitary problems Bran's paralysis would cause have never been openly discussed.
  • Obliviously Evil:
    • As a rather young skinchanger from a culture which generally brands the skill as a myth, Bran does things with it that he considers harmless thanks both to ignorance and youthfulness. Fully-trained and socially integrated skinchangers from beyond-the-Wall with an unbroken ethical code steeped in tradition would, however, call a few of his self-taught tricks "abominable", if not downright Evil. Bran has broken two of the three major Taboos, eating human flesh and skin changing into a person.
    • According to Melisandre's visions, Bran is the Other's champion just as Stannis is R'hllor's. Of course, the Lord of Light isn't a bucket of roses himself, and Melisandre has admitted she is prone to mistakes in interpreting visions.
    • As of A Dance With Dragons, it's still not clear what the three-eyed crow wants him for. Since he's being connected to the Weirwood Net, he can see through the past, and can speak through them, the possibilities and ramifications of his actions, being righteous or wrongful, are endless to say the least
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost always goes by Bran rather than Brandon.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Bran often wargs into his direwolf, Summer. But, he's a more generalised skinchanger on top, so... not just a "werewolf". There's Hodor and the ravens and crows to consider.
  • Precocious Crush: On Meera, who is in her teens, as revealed in A Dance With Dragons.
  • Puppy Love: The aforementioned crush on Meera.
  • Put on a Bus: Along with his companions Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, he doesn't appear in A Feast for Crows. Martin said in the afterword to Feast he wrote so much that he decided to split what would have been one book into two books: A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Feast deals mostly with King's Landing and A Dance with Dragons focuses more on the events at Castle Black, the Wall, and the other countries. He does return, showing what they have been up to beyond the Wall.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: As the Stark most consciously connected to his direwolf and the supernatural in general, Bran's dreams are bound to be glimpses of things to come, though he does not always understand their meaning.
  • The Quest: He and his band run to the Wall, while Bran learns to master his powers along the way.
  • Recurring Dreams: In the first two books, he always dreams of a three-eyed crow pecking him between his eyes, telling him to fly.
  • Seers: He hasn't shown the ability to see the future and it is not known if he can, but he is able see the past and present through the eyes of all the weirwoods—events that can go back for the thousands of years the weirwoods have stood.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Rodrik Cassel and Donella Hornwood in A Clash of Kings.
  • Snooping Little Kid: His habit of climbing the walls has him stumble upon a scene he shouldn't have seen. The results are traumatic.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Falling from one of the highest towers of the castle leaves him with no solid memory of what led to the fall. Though he does have a recurring image of a golden man and he gets anxious at the mention of Jaime.
  • Upgrade Artifact: While staying with Bloodraven and the Children of the Forest, he is given a bowl of weirwood paste to eat in order to awaken his abilities as a greenseer and go into the past.
  • Waif Prophet: Though one of the youngest children, he possesses knowledge of wargs, skinchangers, prophetic dreams, and later the children of the forest.
  • Wild Child: Before Jaime paralyzed him, Bran was known for running about and climbing around Winterfell.
  • Young and in Charge: He's left in charge of Winterfell after the North rebels and Catelyn and Robb go south.

    Rickon Stark 

Prince Rickon Stark
"I want Mother, and I want Father, and I want Shaggy!"

The youngest Stark, a spirited and energetic four-year-old boy. Over the course of the story, he grows scared and violent when his world disintegrates around him. His pet wolf, Shaggydog, is unique among the direwolves for being completely black and unusually savage.

  • Badass and Child Duo: The four-year-old Child to Osha's competent wildling Badass. He may also be one to Shaggydog, who is rapidly leaving puppyhood.
  • The Berserker: He's on his way. Heck, he's not even five years old at the time, but proves himself a right nightmare handful for a group of adults to subdue... and this without having Shaggydog as external backup, either. With Shaggydog tag-teaming physically, we're talking outright fatalities—in the very definite plural.
  • Bond Creatures: Shaggydog and he share a worryingly strong bond. To the point you have to start wondering where the boy stops and the wolf starts. He's probably the closest to a traditional werewolf as the Stark wargs get. Adding to this is a hint that he can also Greendream to some extent, and well...Jon, Robb, Arya and Bran are not the only ones packing more than one set of eyes. Although, like Jon and Robb, he's probably restricted to just his direwolf when it comes to actual skinchanging—hence, "warging".
  • Child Mage: There really should be a rule about not letting kids under twelve practice skinchanging or warging unsupervised. It ain't healthy.
    • There's an argument to be had about which the strongest of the Stark mages actually is: Bran and Arya are up there, but Rickon started warging a lot younger and he didn't need to be fully or partially crippled to get his mojo into any gear, either. Seems that the younger you are when you start playing with the dangerous forces that can easily destroy you...
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Becomes more friendly towards the Walders after Shaggydog attacks Little Walder.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: He doesn't express it very well, but it's clear he had a dream about Ned's death and internment. And, the way he blew up at the thought of the family splitting up, it's not hard to work out he likely had some warning about that, too. Bran may be the more varied dreamer and seer, but Rickon isn't to be dismissed, either. Particularly when it's about family. If only he had had the language tools to explain why he was upset...
  • Faking the Dead: Like Bran, he is presumed dead at Theon's hands after the fall of Winterfell.
  • Flat Character: As Rickon is three years old at the beginning of the series, he doesn't receive much characterization other than a "little boy who wants his parents back and has grown somewhat wild with his direwolf".
  • Fiery Redhead: He is the most expressive of the Stark children, boasting a rather fiery temperament along with his Tully looks.
  • Hot-Blooded: Rickon is quite temperamental and under a lot of stress—and, that's putting it mildly.
  • The Load: Not his fault; he just has the bad timing to turn four years old during a blood-drenched civil war that his family is heavily involved in.
  • Named After Someone Famous: There are many Rickon Starks who came before him. Granted, it's not quite in the "Brandon Stark" league of handing crowd insecurity out to kids, but is still not great.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: A warg, like all his siblings. The most like a werewolf, in fact: it's strongly suggested that he and Shaggy are never entirely out of each other's skulls.
  • Out of Focus: Gets the least focus of all the Stark children.
  • Put on a Bus: He disappears from the story when Meera, Jojen and Hodor head north with Bran. Davos Seaworth is being sent to find that bus, though. A brief wolf dream of his half-brother Jon Snow warging Ghost shows Shaggydog attacking a unicorn, hinting that they are on Skagos.
  • Tagalong Kid: To Bran's group, before he and Osha split from them.
  • Wild Child: Rickon grows wild without parental guidance after the family is separated by the events in the first book when Rickon is three years old. Furthermore, Winterfell is later taken, forcing Rickon and Bran to go on the run. Shaggydog's fear and rage is a reflection on aspects of Rickon's developing personality. Considering where Rickon has been since he was Put on a Bus (see above), we can only expect this trope to develop further for him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Rickon is effectively MIA after the sack of Winterfell. According to Wex Pyke (Theon's mute squire), Rickon and Osha might have headed to Skagos.

    Jon Snow* 

Jon Snow

Lord Eddard's fourteen-year-old illegitimate son. Like his uncle Benjen Stark and many Starks before him, Jon joins the Night's Watch and is eventually elected Lord Commander. His direwolf is Ghost, white and silent.

See the Jon Snow page.